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man hangs with less and more

When I run:

   $ man ls

it just sits there.  ^C reveals:

man: command exited with status 2: /bin/gzip -dc '/var/catman/cat1/ls.1.gz' | { export MAN_PN LESS; MAN_PN='ls(1)'; LESS="$LESS\$-Pm\:\$ix8mPm Manual page $MAN_PN ?ltline %lt?L/%L.:byte %bB?s/%s..?e (END):?pB %pB\\%.."; less; }

Running strace on less repeats the following over and over:

--- SIGTTOU (Stopped (tty output)) ---
ioctl(2, SNDCTL_TMR_STOP, {B9600 opost isig -icanon -echo ...}) = ? ERESTARTSYS (To be restarted)

(same thing happens with PAGER=more)

If I do something like:

   $ PAGER=cat man ls | less

it works fine.

This is with first time install of Debian 1.3 frozen which I
downloaded last week.

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