Business & Finance: Word Game

Nearly four years ago Charles H. Phillips Chemical Co. started a word game to promote toothpaste sales, offered prizes totaling $600 for the longest list of three-letter standard English words built from such phrases as: "Try Phillips Dental Magnesia," "Get Phillips Magnesia Toothpaste," "Try Phillips Magnesia Toothpaste." Among the 40,000 contestants was a young Queens, N. Y. lexicologist named Ira Gustave Gillman, who compiled six lists, one for each phrase, ranging in length from 150 to 297 words.

Ira Gustave Gillman did not win. Many of his words were rejected as Scottish slang,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!