It's a simple theme: rearrange the letters AEGLN into four 5-letter words and make 11- and 12-letter answers with the words. Does it work? I like JESSICALANGE. I do not like CONRADNAGEL (who? turns out he was in 54 silent movies and 57 talkies between 1918 and 1959). 27A: It's not right (OBLIQUEANGLE) gets best clue among the four. FALLENANGEL is very good. Three out of four is pretty good but not great.
Could we have done better? Let's see. Thomas Nagel is a well-known philospher and professor at Columbia, but that hardly seems less recherche than Conrad. I would have enjoyed "vein of Galen", which is one of the large draining veins of the brain. "Glean" seems essentially unusable. So perhaps I'm picking nits, but I would like all four theme answers to have the same level of "pop."
The rest of the fill is not remarkable exciting. AEIOU is sort of silly stuff, and RIATA is stale as they come. AZT, GEO, GRR, NAN (I'd spell it "naan", myself), OTC, OOX (!!!), UGH crossing UGG, and even FALALA, are all poor fill. And that's a lot. And seriously, ASTI again? That's the fourth time in a week. YAYA. Oof.
I like BOLSHOI. BRANDI and MIA fill the quota of women U.S. soccer players. AGGREGATE is a fine down answer, better than LETSDANCE, which I think most of us would like to forget is a David Bowie song.
Finally, what's with 57D (KNOW) being clued by a Minnesota radio station on a Tuesday? Especially with all of those annoying 3-letter answers providing the crosses. Seems out of line with the rest of the puzzle.
So I guess I'm giving it a thumbs down.