341 - Hungariform Crossword For Magyarophone Cartophiles
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Here’s a treat for all you cruciverbally obsessed Hungarian cartophiles out there: a Magyarophone crossword in the shape of Old Hungary, i.e. the other half of the Austrian-led Double Monarchy that ruled much of Central Europe until its defeat in World War I.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved after the war, and Hungary descended into chaos. At the Treaty of Trianon (1920), Hungary lost an astonishing 72% of its territory – including its access to the sea – to literally all of its neighbours: the newly formed states of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, Romania, Austria itself and even bits to Poland. Most of these lands were majoritarily non-Hungarian, but the loss was (and to some extent still is) experienced as an unfair humiliation.
So ‘Old Hungary’ lives on, albeit here in the form of an irredentism-flavoured crossword puzzle. It’s hard to tell whether the nostalgic theme extends to the content of the puzzle. Hungarian is a non-Indo-European language, rendering it virtually unintelligible to most other Europeans. The only words I recognise are ‘Mahatma Ghandi’ and (I think) ‘gratulátunk!’
So gratulátunk (I hope) to Pál Szabó for sending in this map.
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