The tragedy — and the resultant horrific loss of life and damage to property — occurred because of his __________ approach to his duties, evinced by his slouching posture and cavalier attitude.
The answers must parallel slouching posture and cavalier attitude. Note that cavalier is used here to mean “offhand or disdainful.” Thus, aristocratic is a bit of a trap answer, as are murderous and barbarous, which don’t match the clues — while this person’s actions caused horrific loss of life, it doesn’t sound as though that was his intention. The clues indicate he’s just a slacker.
In agitprop theatre, actors, passing as civilians, incite others to public protest; while some consider such actions virtuous, others would label them a _________ trick.
The correct answers, given the pivot word while, must oppose the clue virtuous. While agitprop theater may be faddish, sophisticated, or scintillating, no clues in the sentence indicate any of these. Glib is negative but means “superficially fluent” and is inappropriate here (a person or remark can be glib).
In the week that followed the climber’s disappearance, Internet rumor mongers blogged a myriad of ___________ reports of her demise, only to be embarrassed by the release of a dramatic video that showed her celebrating on the summit.
The clue is rumor mongers and the correct pair both mean “false, doubtful, or unsubstantiated.” You have no way to know if the reports were sentimental, saccharine, or scandalous. Trap answer apocalyptic ignores the clues in the sentence, and is inappropriate for an event involving only one person, even if the outcome were tragic.
Like the characters she played, the ingénue always seemed _________ when auditioning for directors, but, on the set, this almost supine attitude fell away, revealing an implacable unwillingness to compromise her artistic vision.
The correct choices must match “agreeable” and oppose “implacable unwillingness.” While naïve and innocent relate to the clue “ingénue,” they do not take into account the clues in the sentence, about seeming “supine” but actually being stubborn.
Despite the blandishments of the real estate con artist, the intended mark remained __________ about the value of the plot for sale, as, on the map, it seemed to border a swamp.
The word Despite at the beginning of the sentence means that the blank must oppose the encouragement of a “con artist” (someone who tricks people out of money) — something like doubtful. (A mark is someone who is a target of a criminal or con artist). Skeptical and leery work, although leery is more negative.
After hours of tedious test taking, the applicant was exhausted and could feel his acuity _______.
Given the clues “hours of tedious test taking” and “exhausted,” you can surmise that the student’s acuity (mental sharpness) would decrease — that is, flag or ebb.
It is in the best interest of criminal defendants to appear ________ in front of the judge, showing that not all moral sympathy is lost on them.
Criminal defendants want to look good in front of the judge by showing that not all moral sympathy is lost on them. This implies that the defendants are not necessarily innocent, so vindicated doesn’t work. What you want are words meaning “remorseful, apologetic.” Only contrite and penitential work.
With private funding streams drying up right and left, the researcher was delighted to be suddenly freed of grant writing responsibilities and able to pursue _____________ federally-subsidized research.
Since private funding is hard to get (the expression “right and left” means “everywhere, all around”), the researcher was happy that he or she no longer had to pursue this private funding — suddenly, the research is being paid for — subsidized — by the government! Full-bore and wholly both mean “entirely.” Trap answer impeccably (perfectly, spotlessly) is positive but inappropriate to describe the government’s paying for something.
In his writings after visiting New York, Albert Camus expressed more of an inkling rather than a ___________ understanding of what he found lacking in American culture.
You are looking for an antonym for inkling, which means “only a hint of something.” Instead, you want something that would make Camus’s understanding complete or thorough, which is what shrewd or penetrating would mean when combined with understanding. Elementary and inchoate are on the same side as inkling in this context and are the opposite of what you want.
Employees who demonstrate too much alacrity in the workplace often find themselves being assigned work left unfinished by their more _________ co-workers.
The employees who get the work are — based on the clue alacrity — cheerful and ready for more. Thus, they must be getting assigned work left undone by employees who are, by contrast, either lazy or slow. Both torpid and saturnine work (saturnine can also mean “gloomy,” but here it is being used to mean “sluggish”). Note that sedulous and solicitous are the exact opposite of what you want here.