William Van Sant, a government clerk in Washington D.C., won 50 thousand dollars in 1950 by using the word CAMELOPARD to identify an illustration of a giraffe in a contest puzzle. This unfamiliar word united perfectly with other object-names in a diagram that yielded a higher numerical total (based on letter-values) than it would have had he used GIRAFFE. His achievement demonstrated the importance of having a large collection of synonyms as an aid in contest puzzle-solving.
"A Horse of Another Color,"
Word Ways: Vol. 11
, Article 16.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol11/iss4/16