Here’s the explanation for yesterday’s question, thanks for all of your answers!
Instructions: Select exactly two words that best complete the sentence and produce sentences that are alike in meaning.
The chemists pretended it was the philosopher’s stone, the physicians that it was an unmistakable __________.
(C) panacea and (D) elixir are the credited responses.
The key words in this sentence are pretended, philosopher’s stone, and unmistakable. The context establishes a tone of exaggerated excitement surrounding the discovery in question.
Only (C) panacea and (D) elixir, both of which mean a cure-all, fit the needs here.
(A) paragon means a model of excellence or perfection; (B) a cataclysm is a sudden, violent charge; (E) palaver means flattery or empty talk.
(F) a triumph it may have been, but a more specific term is needed here.
Edit 9/15/11: we changed the wording on the answer choices of this post (from “nostrum” to “elixir”) to make the question less ambiguous. Thanks for all of your feedback!