I am throwing together a quick Curses (console / terminal) based UI for a database here, prior to putting (or hiring someone to put!) a Web front-end on it. In keeping with my experience with elinks, I wanted the menubar activation key to be Escape. However, it was running slower than molasses in February — it seemed to take a FULL SECOND before the Esc key would register and focus / unfocus the menubar.
Well, poking around a bit gave me the answer. From man ncurses(3):
ESCDELAY Specifies the total time, in milliseconds, for which ncurses will await a character sequence, e.g., a function key. The default value, 1000 milliseconds, is enough for most uses. However, it is made a variable to accommodate unusual applications."
Duh. It was taking exactly a full second.