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This puzzle is a spin-off from the 'This new puzzle type needs a name' series.


I have devised a new diagramming style. The examples below have been deliberately selected and ordered in a way that conceals the name I have given it. I need you to tell me:

What is its name?

13 diagrams in the new style, circles containing letters, some blank and blue

The answer is 13 letters long. (I suggest that during your working out, you write out your findings in capitals...)

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The things being diagrammed

look to be specific items (in the center), as well as all the items surrounding them. In addition, since the answer is 13 letters, the blue dots probably aren't replacing letters in the answer, but should be considered on their own.

This leads to the aha moment -- that this chart

represents countries by their borders! The icons surrounding the center are rotated roughly to match the locations of the bordering nations; blue circles represent oceans.

For example, the top-right symbol represents Honduras - it has Guatemala and El Salvador bordering it to the northwest, Nicaragua to the southeast, and it also borders both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The full answer:

image from original puzzle with country names written beneath
As suggested, we "write out our findings in capitals" -- look at the capitals of the countries represented. These spell out the name for this diagram: CARTOGRAPHICS!

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    $\begingroup$ Exactly right, well done :) I'd love to know which one you identified first. The second on the middle row was intended to be an 'in' (for many pub quizzers, seeing two Z's immediately sends the mind in this direction...) but I'm well aware that different minds work in different ways! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 27 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv That is indeed the one I found first! I figured out what was going on before actually identifying any of them, but once I started looking for them, the double Zs let me place that one instantly. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Sep 27 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv This puzzle wasn't perchance inspired by a recently aired University Challenge picture question round, was it? $\endgroup$ Sep 27 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Randal'Thor No, actually - I stopped watching UC a few years back :) I got fed up of how every team could answer an opera question lightning fast but never seemed to think it a good idea to recruit someone who could solve the maths puzzles...! (But now I want to see a screenshot...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 27 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Start at 8:00 in this video - it's worth watching the whole picture round, which was particularly memorable for one contestant's lightning speed. $\endgroup$ Sep 27 at 20:48

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