“They Should Be Named”
THEME: familiar phrases are clued as if they are apt nicknames for “famous” people
- BILLY CLUBS (5D: Nickname for golfer Horschel?)
- CAMP DAVID (18A: Nickname for humorist Sedaris at times?)
- BEAUTY BAR (54A: Nickname for model Refaeli?)
- JOE SIX-PACK (31D: Nickname for “Magic Mike XXL” actor Manganiello?)
Oh, man. This was absolutely brutal to me, for one major reason. I’ve never heard of most of the people in this grid. I’ve heard of David Sedaris. All the other themers—no. No idea. Seriously, this is the first I’m hearing of their existence. Golfer, model, actor, all beyond me. Also beyond me: Astrid LINDGREN (yikes) (36D: “Pippi Longstocking” author Astrid), and whatever ARIEL is (I have no idea what [15A: Dinglehopper enthusiast of film] means … is that a “Little Mermaid” reference? I haven’t seen that since it came out). Let’s see: I knew Phoebe CATES (42A: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” actress). I knew ELVIRA (11D: Horror host dubbed “Mistress of the Dark”). And Maya ANGELOU (33D: “And Still I Rise” poet). But overall, this was an object lesson in the dangers of over-reliance on proper nouns of questionable fame. I have no doubt all the people in this grid are “famous” to many, but I do about 2000 crosswords a year, and it is beyond weird for me to whiff utterly on 75% of the themers. Also don’t know what Carpenter JEANS are, never heard of the JELL-O Belt (or the Mormon Corridor, for that matter), can’t stand poker so LIMP IN= ??? (8D: Make a weak bet, in poker). I ended up crashing at AZOV / UZO. I looked at a big picture of UZO Aduba recently (29A: Two-time Emmy-winning actress Aduba) and thought to myself, “Two Emmys … better learn that name.” But no. No way. It’s vowels and consonants and I can’t put them in the right order. Had U-O and had no idea. Also, hadn’t seen (crosswordese-ish) AZOV in Forever (24D: Sea of ___ (Black Sea arm)), so that “Z” just fell out of my mind. Only really considered “R” and “S” for that square where the “Z” was supposed to go. So my middle name was failure here, in every possible way. Sorry, Andy, I feel like the least competent person to discuss this puzzle.
The theme idea is great. I wish there were more famous people this could be done with. Perhaps there are. What’s weird about my ignorance of these newly famous people (they *are* recently famous, right?) is that I didn’t know them, and yet I did know the most current thing in this puzzle, because I’d already listened to it before this puzzle came out: the recently posted K-MART background music. Not sure how that bit of newness got into my brain, when all these “famous” people never did. I seem to live half in the present, and half comfortably ensconced in my ’80s adolescence. Ah well.
Hope you had more success with this one than I did.