I'm working in Drupal 7.
I'm trying to add a custom template file for a few pages I'm creating. I've done so in hook_preprocess_page in my template.php file.
This is the scenario:
I have four "Basic Page" pieces of content that will use the same template file. I've already coded page.tpl.php for other "Basic Page" content. The reason I want this template is because the look of these four basic pages is different from other pages. What I've done is added my suggestion to the theme_hook_suggestions array. It's ignoring what I'm adding. Just a note: after every step I'm clearing my caches. It isn't that.
I've tried this:
$variables['theme_hook_suggestions'] = 'newbies';
This will add the 'newbies' suggestion to the array, but creating a 'newbies.tpl.php' file gets me nowhere. It's ignored. I've gone as far as doing this:
$variables['theme_hook_suggestions'] = array(0=>'newbies');
Which erases the suggestions array and adds only my suggestion, which I've verified with krumo. This also doesn't do anything and is ignored. My site doesn't even break when I do it.
From what I've read about theme_hook_suggestions, it would seem that Drupal only wants template suggestions for templates that it defines. For example, just creating an arbitrary template file (in this case 'newbies') instead of some system defined one like 'page--type--system--node......' etc.. will never work. I've decided to rule that out as being truth for now because I refuse to believe that a design flaw of that magnitude could be introduced into any software.
What am I missing?