A friend on Facebook pointed out a recent piece on fake places that only exist to catch copycat mapmakers. ‘If a competitor just so happens to have the same fake town on their map, then you’ve pretty much caught them red-handed.’ It reminded me of something similar in a book I have: The Oxford-Duden Pictorial German-English Dictionary (Clarendon Press, 1994). It’s a bilingual version of the pictorial dictionary (Bildwörterbuch) published as Volume III of Duden‘s authoritative 12-volume series of German dictionaries and can tell you all sorts of very specialised vocabulary in all sorts of fields, from astronomy to plants. Obviously, a lot of work went into producing the book, so Duden hit upon an ingenious way of protecting their copyright.
Plate 288, Aerial Sports, gives details for terms used in aerobatics, parts of a plane, a hot-air balloon, and skydiving:
But look a little closer. What’s no. 91 supposed to be? Check the facing page and all is revealed: it’s a flying kennel, ‘a K9-class model’.
Lexicographers having a little joke, yes, but just like the maps in the Gizmodo blogpost, it’s a way for Duden to prove that someone else may have copied its dictionary if a suspiciously similar book ever appeared on the market.