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I mostly agree with your analysis, except for one thing. Having the areas without have the same (no) pattern and a "blending in" grey colour would be a mistake. For one thing, charts are still frequently printed out, or even copied, and can easily lose the colour information in the process. Also, people with some forms of colour blindness will be unable to distinguish a pale blue and a grey. In either kind of situation, you lose the "No data" information and falsely assign data values to those areas. Keep a separate pattern and you don't risk losing the information.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2014 on Oldie but goodie at Junk Charts