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Aures Tenebrescunt; Oculi Surdescunt

Classical scholars countywide were left in stitches and staff in the University of Afpuddle’s Faculty of Dead Languages red-faced as copies of Professors Ventum and Urina’s New Compendium of Latin Phrases hit the bookshelves today.

The much-vaunted volume - sponsored by Threadmecca Dancing Ltd ["We'll make your Latin hotter than your Ballroom and your ballroom hotter than a budgie-smuggler's crevice"] was commissioned and launched with expectations that it would re-popularise the former world-leading imperial tongue and bring back into common usage such admirable phrases as Fac mihi magnum unum, Est post te, I ego dico uxorem and Quantum ad remio chorus - Christus, oportet te quasi ludens loqui, Vigilate volui te non domum.

* Make Mine a Big One, It's Behind You, Oo I say Mrs and How much for a lapdance - Christ, you must be

joking, I wanted to watch not take you home.

But, what is now being described by the University Press as a small editorial mishap has, according to classisists countywide, soundly trounced the University’s admittedly shaky reputation for scholastic excellence and at the same time caused endless mirth in the pubs, clubs and working men’s institutes of Dorset. The headline in today’s Sidling St Nicholas Sun - What a Howler! - says it all, with the popular red-top's Classics and Ancient History Correspondent Lex Romanum opining that “any kid on the block would have spotted that one. It’s just unbelievable and - of course - hysterically funny”.

Amateur classicist, Malum Linguistica, says the "spectacular own goal" is “a schoolboy error”, and “the best and most egregious example ever of two well known a**e-holes seriously confusing their c**ts”; whilst another wit quipped, "not since Picasso has there been such an hilarious confusion of eyes with ears".

At the root of all the hilarity is the phrase aures tenebrescunt; oculi surdescunt [sic] which should, of course, have been rendered oculi tenebrescunt aures surdescunt** - a transposition as obvious even to a three year old as it is side-splittingly funny.

            ** the ears are darkened; the eyes become deaf

The Sydling St Nicholas Sun's Chief Cartoonist, Carrie Kachur was not slow to mock the unfortunate authors' "schoolboy mistake".

Dorset Minister for Mishaps Jacob Cream-Cracker added, in an official statement: "We will be looking into this as a matter of urgency. Misleading the populace is a serious business and we all know that a carelessly deployed Latin phrase can cost lives - or in this case, hopefully, just jobs"

** the beginning of the statement is a reference to a recent incident in the Dorset High Court in which the presiding judge His Hon Judge Jeffrey Jeffrey-Jeffries mistakenly sentenced the convicted felon to Certamen cum fune rather than Contione cum aliqua spe [an encounter with a rope rather than a [probationary] meeting with some hope].

In the meantime, all eyes are on the shelves of Threadstones the quality High Street Bookseller to see if the publishers decide to stick or twist. Will there be a new New Compendium of Latin Phrases or just an even fuller than seasonally normal heavily reduced remainder bin?

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