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Quick Takes: Damsel in distress

Trapped in a tower, British woman uses cosmetic bag staples to make her escape

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes: Damsel in distress
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LIKE A RAPUNZEL/MacGYVER MASHUP, a British academic who found herself trapped in a medieval tower engineered her escape using eyeliner and a cotton swab. Krisztina Ilko, a postdoctoral fellow and historian, found herself locked in a bathroom in late February at her Queens’ College residence in a tower on the campus of Cambridge University. Finding the lock jammed—and knowing that a cleaning crew would not arrive until four days later—Ilko considered her options. “I was trying to remember how long a person can survive on just water and hoping that I wouldn’t die there,” she told The Independent. After spending seven hours trapped in the tower bathroom, Ilko used an eyeliner pencil and a cotton swab shaped into a hook to pick the lock and regain her freedom.

Drama at the Iditarod

Musher Dallas Seavey won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 12 despite receiving a two-hour penalty for improperly gutting a moose. During the nearly 1,000-mile Alaska race, a wild moose tangled with Seavey’s team, injuring one of his dogs. Seavey had to shoot the moose, and race rules require that any large animals killed by mushers be gutted on site. “I gutted it the best I could, but it was ugly,” he told Iditarod Insider. Race officials later determined he didn’t do a good enough job and assessed a penalty. Still, Seavey made up the lost time to claim his record sixth Iditarod victory.

Sugar-coated promise

Some politicians promise jobs. Others promise lower taxes. Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff said he’ll build the largest chocolate fountain in the world if voters in the Australian state return his Liberal Party to power in the March 23 election. Under Rockliff’s design, the government would fund nearly $8 million to create a record-breaking chocolate fountain and chocolate-­themed tourist attraction. The current world record for tallest chocolate fountain is a 40-foot fountain in Austria.

Extinguisher business blaze

They don’t work if they’re on fire. That’s the ­lesson from a fire March 5 in a building that houses Friendly Extinguisher Sales and Service of Mount Airy, N.C. Although the business owner had plenty of fire extinguishers on hand, he could not prevent the blaze from spreading in the walls. “He made a valiant effort,” Fire Chief Zane Poindexter told The Mount Airy News. Thankfully crews quickly contained the blaze. Noting the irony, Poindexter added, “Accidents happen to everyone.”

Doughnut in dispute

Accusations of plagiarized pastries have led New York’s Division of Food Safety and Inspection to launch an investigation of a Long Island bakery. In March, New York food inspectors confirmed they were looking into claims that The Savory Fig, a bakery in Patchogue, N.Y., substituted a Dunkin’ Donuts pastry on an order for vegan and gluten-free doughnuts. John Stengel, a New Yorker who co-owns a vegan market, said he became alarmed when one of the doughnuts he ordered from The Savory Fig was covered in D-shaped sprinkles, a trademark of Dunkin’. The bakery’s owner has denied the allegations on social media.

The burger king

More than 34,000 down, and Don Gorske shows no signs of slowing down. The Fond du Lac, Wisc., 70-year-old walks 6 miles a day, and he still eats about two Big Macs a day. On Feb. 29, Guinness confirmed Gorske had extended his record of most Big Macs eaten in a lifetime to 34,128 after examining Gorske’s saved receipts. The McDonald’s fan said he started eating the calorie-­laden sandwich in 1972. “Out of respect to my mother, from 1973 to 1981, I ate one non-Big Mac meal a day because she was worried about my health,” he told Guinness. When he hadn’t died, Gorske upped his Big Mac intake. He once ate a Whopper from Burger King—in 1984. He hasn’t been back since.

No more flying hot dogs

Philly fans unruly? That’s the opinion of Philadelphia Phillies management, which announced Feb. 29 the ballclub’s popular April promotion featuring $1 hot dogs won’t return this season. Officials said they are ending it to “provide a positive experience for all fans.” Phillies Senior Vice President John Weber admitted the dollar dogs had sparked some uncouth behavior. “It wasn’t just the throwing,” he said, referencing an April 11, 2023, game when some fans threw hot dogs onto the field and at other patrons. Weber said the promotion also clogged the concourses with fans seeking cheap franks, but “the throwing was a little bit of a tipping point.”


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