Geneticists find Iceland a living laboratory for the study of _________ because virtually all of its current 300,000 citizens descend from less than a thousand Icelanders who survived the medieval Black Death.
The geneticists mentioned are studying a population descended from a rather small number of people a rather long time ago. Geneticists — who study genes, of course — would be interested in how this population changed over time (mutated) and became different from one another (diversity). Note that none of the other answers are logical at all.
Only by ignoring Afghanistan’s long history as a military quagmire could pundits pontificate that fresh infusions of men and material would lead to _________ victory.
The pivot indicates that the answers will oppose the clue quagmire — that is, Afghanistan’s problems are messy and entrenched. So, what kind of victory is not likely? A fast or easy one.
Because the Lewis and Clark expedition through the West was conceived primarily as a mapping project, government officials were _________ by the wealth of information on a myriad of topics that the explorers gathered.
Since the expedition was conceived primarily as a mapping project, the officials would naturally be amazed or surprised at the wealth of information on a myriad of topics that the explorers gathered. Only flabbergasted and bedazzled convey any type of surprise or awe.
Representative government arose in part from dissatisfaction with too many monarchs making _________ decisions without regard for precedents.
The clue is “without regard for precedents” — that is, the monarchs made decisions based on their own whims or desires, ignoring any pre-existing standards. Considered is the opposite of what you are lookng for, and malicious and pessimistic, while appropriately negative, add new ideas that are not indicated by the sentence.
During the German occupation of France, the draconian measures of the occupiers met armed resistance from civilian _________, inspired by desperate conditions to fight in their own streets.
The correct pair must follow the clue armed resistance from civilian; the word mercenaries is an attractive trap, but a mercenary is someone who fights for money (usually for a foreign country), not someone who is “inspired by desperate conditions to fight in their own streets.”
Though considered a somewhat somber drama at the time of its release in 1975, the film Shampoo, about a philandering hairdresser, now seems more the _________ comedy.
You need two words that are the opposite of “somewhat somber.” Only puckish and wry have the sense of being funny or playful.
For most of the 20th century, American political contentions reflected pragmatic rather than ideological differences; candidate debates centered around whether programs were _________.
You need two words that are like pragmatic, which means “practical.” Feasible and viable relate to the practical considerations of whether the plan is workable or likely to succeed. The only other pair of similar words, partisan and prejudiced, have the exact incorrect meaning — they are more similar to “ideological” than “pragmatic.”
While he says that he did not mean to kill, some feel that his actions are _________ murder.
|on par with|
|an homage to|
|an accrual of|
On par with, tantamount to.
The man’s actions are being compared to murder, even though the man says the killing was unintentional (murder refers specifically to “deliberate killing”). Thus, you need choices that mean “equivalent to.” Both on par with and tantamount to match.
After a second _________ attempt by Margulies to make a simple shot, the coach put him on the bench for the rest of the game.
You now that Margulies got benched, so his attempt must have been “weak” or “unsuccessful.” Both bootless and feckless match. Make sure to stick to the clues presented — you have no way to know if Margulies is restless, indefatigable, etc. You only know that he was pulled from the game by his coach.
Possessed of a lighthearted approach to life, Winnie thought that those who were _________ in regards to values and mores missed out on a certain liveliness and spontaneity.
You need a word in the blank that is the opposite of the words lighthearted and liveliness and spontaneity, so something like strict would match. Priggish and punctilious are both related to taking the rules much too seriously.