Posted on 22 February 2009 | 8:02am
Thanks to everyone (particularly Charlie, which nonetheless doesn’t qualify) for suggestions of people instantly recognisable by first name alone.
I kicked off with Delia in advance of my lunch with her at Norwich v Burnley yesterday, and yes, to those who asked on my Facebook page, there was custard with the treacle sponge.
One or two of you suggested fellow celebrity chefs like Gordon, but I think Brown might have a prior call.
Several suggested Alastair, but that is what we call cybercreeping. What about Darling (even if spelled differently) or Sim, or Stewart? A few suggested Freddie, but Freddie who? Flintoff, Mercury, Trueman? If I have immediately thought of more than one, I have not included.
I have allowed in a handful of fictional characters on a purely random, subjefctive and selfish basis.
Anyway in no particular order, here goes with your suggestions
Clint, Sven, Nancy (only if next to Sven I think,) Elvis, Jesus, Tiger, Lance, Engelbert (a bit of a cheat because not real name but ok), Elton, Ringo, (likewise, but I don’t allow Bono, The Edge or Sting – too unique! Mick nearly made it, as in Jagger, which is no mean feat for such a common name, but then I thought of dozens of others), Maggie, Che, Jade, Arianna, Hillary (definitely if 2 ls included), (someone suggested Bill but that only works with Hillary), Rudy, Ken (I’ll let it in but even as I do I’m thinking Livingstone or Clarke), Homer, Bart, (oh ok), Marilyn, Diana,Kylie, Britney, Idi, Winston (sorry to put one of the greatest after one of the worst), ‘Enery (only with dropped H), Fidel, Scarlett, Rhett, Sherlock, Hercule, Jude, Jade, Austin, Cassius, Dolly (I let this in on the grounds of Parton being a person and ‘the sheep’ being a sheep,) Dusty, Cliff, Goldie, Ziggy, Ming, Salman, Kanye, Snoop, Brad, Angelina, Keira, Audrey, Humphrey, (the last two were borderline), Glenys, Cherie, Ghengis, Smoky, Saddam, Peaches, Mo, Edwina, Adolf, Buddy, Leona, Lewis (as in Leona Lewis and Lewis Hamilton), Arnie, Kermit, Manfred, Mahatma, Whitney, Cher, Beyonce, Cesc, Seve, (get well soon), Brucie (only in the UK I think and only with the -ie),Toyah, Groucho, Woody.
A few got in as couples, a la Bill and Hillary, eg Eric and Ernie, Richard and Judy, Ronnie and Reggie.
The only child who made it into the list is Brooklyn.
But my overall winner is Napoleon. Not only has he stood the test of time, and the judgement of history, but he has done so with his first name becoming better known than the second, unusual for a political/military figure. And did you know that he (or at least one of his advisors and Napoleon gave the go-ahead) invented the baguette? I bet Delia didn’t know that … It was so his soldiers could put their bread through two holes on the side of their trousers, rather than have it get battered around their knapsacks and turn into crumbs by the time they had stopped marching.