"The View from Saturday" by E. L. Konigsburg, List 1

In this novel, the members of Mrs. Olinski's champion Academic Bowl team reveal the secrets behind their unexpected success.

This list covers chapters 1–2.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4, List 5

Here are links to our lists for other books by E. L. Konigsburg: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Silent to the Bone
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. superintendent
    a person who directs and manages an organization
    To the district superintendent of schools, she gave a bad answer, but she did that only once, only to him, and if that answer was not good, her reason for giving it was.
  2. tally
    the act of counting; reciting numbers in ascending order
    Unlike football bowls, there had been no season tallies for the academic teams.
  3. brawn
    the trait of possessing muscular strength
    They were reminded that this Bowl was for brains, not brawn, and decorum—something between chapel and classroom—was the order of the day.
  4. decorum
    propriety in manners and conduct
    They were reminded that this Bowl was for brains, not brawn, and decorum—something between chapel and classroom—was the order of the day.
  5. lectern
    desk or stand with a slanted top used to hold a text
    At a lectern between them stood the commissioner of education of the state of New York.
  6. commissioner
    a government administrator
    At a lectern between them stood the commissioner of education of the state of New York.
  7. benevolent
    intending or showing kindness
    He smiled benevolently over the audience as he reached inside his inner breast pocket and withdrew a pair of reading glasses.
  8. bate
    moderate or restrain; lessen the force of
    She watched with bated (and visible) breath as the commissioner placed his hand into a large clear glass bowl.
  9. calligraphy
    beautiful handwriting
    He withdrew a piece of paper, unfolded it, and read, "What is the meaning of the word calligraphy and from what language does it derive?"
  10. derive
    come from
    He withdrew a piece of paper, unfolded it, and read, "What is the meaning of the word calligraphy and from what language does it derive?"
  11. insist
    be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge
    My mother insisted that I write a B & B letter to my grandparents.
  12. nitpick
    be overly critical; criticize minor details
    Mother then made a remark about how Western Civilization was in a decline because people of my generation knew how to nitpick but not how to write a B & B letter.
  13. suburb
    a residential district located on the outskirts of a city
    My brother Joey had been sent to my other set of grandparents, who live in a normal suburb in Connecticut.
  14. jot
    write briefly or hurriedly; write a short note of
    I also took out a sharpened pencil and a pad of Post-it notes to jot down any ideas that might come to mind.
  15. circumstances
    one's overall condition in life
    The red wagon had definitely been a gift—even though, under the circumstances, I didn't bring it back to Epiphany with me.
  16. corsage
    an arrangement of flowers that is usually given as a present
    Mr. Cantor, a retired postman from Pennsylvania, who was devoted to growing orchids, said that he would have enough blossoms for the corsages.
  17. rabbi
    spiritual leader of a Jewish congregation
    Tillie Nachman volunteered to do the invitations, and Rabbi Friedman, who was a rabbi in his former life, said he would perform the ceremony even though Margaret Draper was not Jewish and Izzy Diamondstein was.
  18. stationery
    paper cut to an appropriate size for writing letters
    After that first meeting, Grandpa Nate and I took Tillie Nachman, a former New York City person who had never learned to drive, to the stationery store so that she could buy the invitations.
  19. nib
    the writing point of a pen
    It was while Tillie was trying out various pen points (called nibs) that she made the remark about the ballpoint pen being the biggest single factor in the decline of Western Civilization.
  20. decline
    a condition inferior to an earlier condition
    It was while Tillie was trying out various pen points (called nibs) that she made the remark about the ballpoint pen being the biggest single factor in the decline of Western Civilization.
  21. domicile
    housing that someone is living in
    Fact: Many of the domiciles in Century Village do not have family rooms with desks.
  22. pounce
    move down on as if in an attack
    I was doing a wonderful job until Thomas Stearns, called T.S., Tillie’s cat, pounced into my lap, and I jumped up and spilled the ink, and the cat walked through the spilled ink and onto a couple of the invitations I was addressing.
  23. accustomed
    in the habit of or adapted to
    It didn't slow things down too much, and the citizens of Century Village are accustomed to waiting.
  24. ironic
    displaying incongruity between what is expected and what is
    Allen Diamondstein kept saying, "Isn't it ironic? My father is getting married just as I am getting divorced."
  25. topple
    cause to tumble by pushing
    Unfortunately, he didn't see the wagon handle, so he tripped on it, slid on the wet concrete, fell in the puddle of melted ice and, unfortunately, toppled the wedding cake.
  26. maim
    injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration
    The little top layer was totally smashed; it fell in the same puddle as Allen, and the little bride and groom were seriously maimed.
  27. superstitious
    showing faith in magic and ignorance of the laws of nature
    I did not tell Izzy what had happened to the couple on top of the wedding cake because people get very superstitious at weddings and no one wants a wounded bride and groom sitting on top of the cake with which they are to start a happy marriage.
  28. signify
    convey or express a meaning
    I had seen that sort of thing often enough in the movies: A close-up of the shattered little bride and groom floating in a puddle of melted ice signifying the fate of the real bride and groom.
  29. fate
    an event that will inevitably happen in the future
    I had seen that sort of thing often enough in the movies: A close-up of the shattered little bride and groom floating in a puddle of melted ice signifying the fate of the real bride and groom.
  30. dirigible
    a steerable self-propelled aircraft
    I sucked in my breath until my lungs felt like twin dirigibles inside my ribs.
  31. podium
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    Both Dr. Rohmer and Mrs. Olinski paid strict attention to the commissioner, the man at the podium.
  32. precision
    the quality of being reproducible in amount or performance
    He wore a navy blue, precision fit pin-striped suit and a white-on-dazzling-white shirt.
  33. timid
    showing fear and lack of courage
    She still did not know (and wouldn't until after it was all over), but by that time the success of The Souls (even if she did not yet know that they were The Souls) had made Mrs. Olinski less timid.
  34. multiculturalism
    the doctrine that different peoples can coexist peacefully
    Dr. Rohmer had announced that he had just completed a three-day workshop on multiculturalism for ed-you-kay-toars.
  35. capsule
    a shortened version of a written work
    Dr. Rohmer was not amused. He gave Mrs. Olinski a capsule lecture on what multiculturalism really means.
  36. diversity
    noticeable variety
    “In the interest of diversity," she said, "I chose a brunette, a redhead, a blond, and a kid with hair as black as print on paper."
  37. cherub
    an angel portrayed as a winged child
    Nadia was the redhead of Mrs. Olinski's diverse group.
    Had she been born five hundred years sooner, Raphael would have chosen her as a model for his cherubs.
  38. incandescent
    characterized by ardent emotion, intensity, or brilliance
    Mrs. Olinski knew that Nadia Diamondstein was not only incandescently beautiful but was also a star.
  39. abundance
    the property of a more than adequate quantity or supply
    Lowering his eyes, he read, "What is the name given to that portion of the North Atlantic Ocean that is noted for its abundance of seaweed, and what is its importance to the ecology of our planet?"
  40. ecology
    the environment as it relates to living organisms
    Lowering his eyes, he read, "What is the name given to that portion of the North Atlantic Ocean that is noted for its abundance of seaweed, and what is its importance to the ecology of our planet?"

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