Einstein’s idea that electromagnetic radiation was divided into a finite number of “energy quanta” was purely experiential until it was theoretically ___________ by the work of physicists such as Louis de Broglie and Werner Heisenberg.
It is critical to work out here whether the physicists mentioned at the end of the sentence were for or against Einstein’s theory. You know that the idea went from “purely experiential” to “theoretically” something. There’s a contrast here, and the contrast is not between right and wrong. It is between something that has been shown by experiment and something that has been understood theoretically. This means the later scientists are providing support for Einstein. Undermined and sabotaged are negative, while condoned and pardoned don’t make much sense. Only bolstered and buttressed correctly express the idea of support.
In a way, the environmental movement can still be said to be __________ movement, for while it has been around for decades, only recently has it become a serious organization associated with political parties and platforms.
An incipient, a nascent.
While the environmental movement is said to have been around awhile, the second half of the sentence says that it “only recently” become “a serious organization.” This means that the answer choices disorganized and nebulous don’t quite work. The other pair, inconsequential and immaterial, is needlessly negative. Incipient and nascent capture the idea that, while the movement has been around for a while, it is only just now becoming a serious and relevant organization.
According to Buddhist thought, the mark of a truly great soul is the ability to retain one’s __________ in the face of turmoil and tribulation.
You need something for the blank that a “great soul” would do in the face of turmoil and tribulation. Since in the face of indicates opposite direction, the meaning is something like “remain calm.” Conviction (a firmly held belief) might work, but it has no partner. Self-esteem and pride are a pair, but they don’t make much sense in the sentence. Equanimity and sangfroid both imply an inner tranquility.
Multi-level marketing schemes prey on people ____________ promises of quick riches, and sales rewards such as fancy cars and vacations.
Beguiled by, enamored with.
For the schemes to “prey” on people, those people would need to want what is being advertised. Beguiled by and enamored with mean “lured by or infatuated with.” Obsessed by and possessed by go too far. Aggrieved by and vexed by are negative (if you were vexed by quick riches and fancy trips, you wouldn’t be easy prey, and also you’d be really weird)
The Thin Blue Line, a documentary by Errol Morris, is one of a very few movies that has had a tangible effect on the real world; the film managed to _________ its subject, who had been on death row for a crime that Morris proves, fairly definitively, that the man did not commit.
This sentence tells you that Morris’s film proves that its subject did not commit the crime in question. This implies that the film proved his innocence. Both exculpate and vindicate mean to “clear someone of blame or suspicion.” Liberate and manumit are close, but both have the idea of freedom without freeing from blame (and manumit is technically only used for when someone is freed from slavery). Excuse means “to lessen the blame” or “forgive someone for a fault,” but not to prove they were not at fault in the first place.
The subject of the documentary was not bothered that the documentarian received such __________ from the critics, but that none of the money or acclaim filtered down to him.
You learn in the second half of this sentence that the documentarian received “money” and “acclaim,” while the subject of the documentary did not. Either one could go in the blank, but because you know it’s coming “from the critics,” it needs to match up with “acclaim” (critics don’t give “money”). Both approbation and plaudits fit this meaning. Opprobrium and fulmination are the opposite of what you want, and wealth and capital don’t fit the meaning of the sentence.
The argument that both political parties engage in similar levels of dishonesty is a ___________ one; while you can certainly point to individual instances of chicanery on the parts of both parties, one side has built its entire platform on lies.
This is a complex sentence, and the meaning of the first part is dependent on what comes after the semicolon. There you see that if you only looked shallowly at the two parties, you’d see dishonesty on both sides, but if you looked more deeply, you’d see that one side is worse. Both specious and meretricious mean “apparently attractive, but having in reality no value,” which fits perfectly. Sophomoric means “juvenile or immature,” which is not indicated by the sentence.
Sandra was entirely __________ by the crossword puzzle which, unlike the simple fill-in-the-blanks published on weekdays, was one of the more difficult cryptic crosswords only published on weekends.
Because you know that the puzzle in question is one of the more dif icult puzzles, you would expect Sandra to be, well, “puzzled” by it. Enraged and incensed are an intriguing pair, but you have no reason to believe Sandra was made angry by the puzzles. Smitten can’t work here because the correct idiom is “smitten with.” Impressed could work, but it doesn’t have a pair to match with. Confounded and flummoxed are the best choices.
The reviewer opined that action film directors like Michael Bay seem to find elements like characterization and emotional development __________ to a good movie, whereas more critically-acclaimed directors see them as — pun intended — “critical.”
You have the word whereas in this sentence, which implies a change in direction. So if the critically-acclaimed directors see characterization and emotional development as “critical,” Michael Bay should find them unimportant (at least according to the reviewer). Important and intrinsic are the opposite of what you want. Extraneous and peripheral both fit the meaning you need.
Though the majority of rules in sports are physically described in rulebooks, there is a ________ code of conduct that relates to sportsmanship.
The word though always sets up a contrast, so you need something for the blank that means the opposite of “physically described in rulebooks.” Both tacit and implicit mean “implied, but not plainly expressed.” Unambiguous and blatant have the opposite charge.