In the early 1920’s, Paul Cassirer, a Berlin art dealer, was famous not only for his clients, such as Renoir, but also for _________ a credulous art world by correctly exposing several purported Van Gogh works as forgeries.
Cassirer “correctly” exposed forgeries to a credulous (that is, gullible) art world. Thus, he was helping or advising the art world. Only apprising and counseling match.
While the legend of Custer’s last stand is commonly accepted and oft cited as an example of fortitude in the face of adversity, recent studies of the remains indicate that, _________, many soldiers chose suicide rather than risk capture by the Sioux.
The pivot word While indicates the answers must undermine the commonly accepted and oft cited legend. Note that there are two incorrect pairs: risibly and amusingly, tragically and horribly. Work off the clue and do not inject opinions or write stories.
In uncertain times, _________ theories often gain greater and faster adherence among the populace than proven ones do.
The sentence indicates that the blank opposes the word proven. Corroborated and assayed are an incorrect pair of words that have meanings similar to proven. Only putative and conjectural have the desired meaning (“alleged, supposed, in theory”).
In the 19th century, Thomas Carlyle called economics “the dismal science,” in part because of Malthus’s theory that population growth would outpace our natural resources, causing widespread _________.
The correct pair must the idea of population growth outpacing natural resources — that is, having too many people to be supported by our natural resources. Famine and dearth are not synonyms (a famine is “a prolonged and widespread lack of food,” and a dearth is “a lack of anything”), but are the only words that match the idea of shortages.
A “Mycenaean waist” refers to the taut, impossibly small waists characteristic of certain ancient drawings found on Crete, and it certainly does not _________ any characteristic of modern, overweight Western societies.
The images of small waists are contrasted with overweight Western societies. The word not before the blank indicates that you need two words that mean “represent” or “portray.”
In 1905, there were only fourteen automobiles in the United States, yet, _________ enough, two of them ran into each other in St. Louis.
The pivot word yet indicates that a car crash in 1905 was a numerical improbability. You need two words that mean “strangely” or “ridiculously.” Only ironically and ludicrously come close. (Note that the GRE tends to use the word ironically rather loosely.)
The phrase “gilding the lily” is a late 19th century expression that sneered at the ostentatious gestures of some of the newly rich, such as applying gold gilt to the carved lilies on the entrances of their Beaux Arts homes; for decades, it then served as a shorthand for any _________ and showy behavior.
The two words must match the word ostentatious. Both gauche and uncouth get aross the idea of showing off in a low-class way (as is often associated with the “newly rich”). Remember not to insert your own opinions — eccentric and idiosyncratic are near-synonyms, but are a trap.
Although historically, paints were often tinted with toxic elements such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, _________ number of painters lived to be seventy, eighty, and even ninety.
A flabbergasting, a confounding.
The pivot Although indicates that the blank will convey something that contrasts with the idea of most people living only to age forty. You need two words that mean something like “surprising.” Trap answer incomprehensible goes too far — it’s interesting that many painters had long lives, but it’s not beyond all comprehension.
Although accommodating in person, George Orwell _________ defended his political positions in print.
Because of the word Although, the correct pair must contrast “accommodating.” Both tenaciously and doggedly convey the idea that Orwell refused to back down. Note that the pair obsequiously and sycophantically are the exact opposite of what you are looking for.
Given the influx of information via social media, the only way that a person can function effectively is to _________, to metaphorically separate the wheat from the chaff.
You need two words that match the clue to metaphorically separate the wheat from the chaf . (Chaf is the “inedible part of wheat that is discarded before the wheat can be made into flour.”) You can also use the clues regarding the only way that a person can function given an influx of information. Delete and eliminate are attractive traps, but doesn’t match the idea of separating the wheat from the chaf . Only triage (think of what emergency room physicians do) and prioritize match.