Theme: FACE splitting grins. Each asterisked clue announces a theme entry that splits the word FACE down the middle and uses the halves as BOOK ENDS. They're not really intended to be amusing, but I do have to smile at the cleverness.
20. *Miss : FAIL TO NOTICE An ineptitde in keen powers of observation.
28. *Simulated living room feature : FAUX FIRE PLACE. A decorative mantle, perhaps a hearth, a psuedo-fire chamber, but not a place for a fire.
45. *Feature of many Bee Gees songs : FALSETTO VOICE Description here.
And the unifier 51. Headline that would shock the Internet community (or put another way, hint to the divided word in each of the answers to starred clues) : FACE BOOK ENDS. And a nice word play at no extra charge.
Hi gang, JazzzBumpa here. Let's see what these BOOK ENDS hold for us.
1. Cellar process : AGING. For wine, cheese, or pickles
6. Incline : TILT. Or slant
10. Shady plan : SCAM. Yesterday this was a con game.
14. Hilo veranda : LANAI. Nice view.
15. Freshly : ANEW
16. Scrabble piece : TILE
17. Panache : FLAIR
18. He caught Don's 1956 World Series perfect game : YOGI. Don Larsen and YOGI Berra. A happy moment.
19. Bickering : AT IT. Be careful how you parse this.
23. Tolkien's Elrond, e.g. : ELF. He was called Elrond Halfelven, though that is not quite accurate either. I believe he had both elven and human lineage from two of his grandparents.
26. One way to pace : FRO. The other is TO.
27. Hold dear : PRIZE
32. Confounds : ADDLES
33. Poem of the countryside : IDYL. Clear Ayes . . .
34. Fort Meade-based govt. org. : NSA. The National Security Agency, a frequent visitor to crosswords.
37. Standards, briefly : REGS REGulations
38. Ottoman officer : AGA
39. Dan Patrick's channel, formerly : ESPN, the all sports cable network.. Daniel Patrick Pugh can now be heard on Premier Radio Networks.
40. Portland-to-Boise dir. : ESE.
41. Frosh, next year : SOPH. Freshman and SOPHomore (the wise fool.) I wanted someone who was going to be a Frosh next year, not what this year's Frosh would be next year.
43. Scientific __ : METHOD. You can go through the process here.
48. Respectful address : MADAM
49. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI. Head of France is TETE; King of France is ROI.
50. Some 12-yd. soccer shots : PKS. Penalty Kicks, I assume.
55. Takes steps : ACTS. An actor steps across the stage, but that's not what we're getting at here.
56. Land of Rama I : SIAM. Now Thailand
57. Poke : ELBOW.
61. Gait slower than a canter : TROT. More specifically, this is gait of a horse in which the diagonal pairs of legs move together, not to be confused with the PACE, in which the two legs on the same side of the horse move together. Racing TROTTERS and PACERS may not break stride..
62. 'Enry's greeting : 'ELLO. 'Enry 'Iggens, I presume.
63. More-than-disappointing crowd? : NO ONE. For some reason, I had a hard time parsing this.
64. Miffed : SORE
65. Textile worker : DYER. I wanted BRIM POUNCER
66. Amarillo's home : TEXAS. Amarillo is yellow in Spanish. The city is likely named for the abundant yellow wild flowers in the area or the yellow soil in the banks of near-by Amarillo creak
1. The Tanners' adoptee, on TV : A.L.F. (Alien Life Form) I am only vaguely familiar with this character from yet another show I never watched
2. Lass : GAL A youthful female.
3. Garten of the Food Network : INA. I don't know her.
4. Newbie : NAIF. This word means "a naive or inexperienced person." The correlation with "Nebie" is a bit fanciful, IMHO.
5. Long-necked mammal : GIRAFFE. The LW's favorite critter.
6. Five-time Grammy winner James : TAYLOR. This song is not one of them.
7. Playing a fifth qtr., say : IN O.T. Overtime
9. Reinforced, as some dust bags : TWIN-PLY. Wow, this was slow to develop.
10. Radio interference : STATIC
11. Immigrant test taker's goal : CITIZENSHIP. A call out to C.C.!
12. Rocker Cooper : ALICE. I won't use a link on him.
13. Dole (out) : METE. Middle English from Latin for "turning post" or "boundary" via Norman French.
21. Pupil's place : IRIS. Class room wouldn't fit, no matter how much I eyeballed it..
22. Uttered : ORAL. Tricky, using a verbal adjective where I was expecting a verb.
23. Online airline deal : E-FARE
24. Fills with cargo : LADES
25. Arbitrary allowance for error : FUDGE FACTOR
29. T-shirt sizes, for short : XLS. Extra-large.
30. Black ball : EIGHT. Here, I was looking for a verb and got a noun. In billiards, the 8 ball is solid black.
31. BlackBerry Bold, e.g. : PDA Personal Data Assistant. Actually, a full-featured smartphone.
35. Logical character : SPOCK. The guy with the pointy ears from Star Trek
36. Aconcagua is its highest peak : ANDES. South American Geography fact of the day
38. Mimic : APE. Old crosswordese.
39. Command for DDE : E.T.O. European Theater of Operations. No play acting there.
41. Generous slice : SLAB. Mmmmm -- pie.
42. Diffused through a membrane : OSMOSED. This awkward back-formation actually is a word.
43. Night light : MOON. Thou pale evanescent orb . . .
44. Clear : EVIDENT. Plane to see. On an EVIDENT night, you can planely see the MOON. It is now just short of midnight, and the rain has begun.
46. Carol opening : ADESTE. "O come" in Latin.
47. Aftershock : TREMOR. Any news of tremors from Tuesday's shock?
48. Computer shortcut : MACRO. Yesterday, this was a lens.
51. Domino's nickname : FATS. So much easier than Antoine Dominique, Jr. And deserving of one last link.
52. Slick : OILY
53. Curly cabbage : KALE. A headless, leafy varierty.
54. Gin flavoring : SLOE. The SLOE plum. I guess the word "gin" by itself doesn't mean anything specific, hence the need for London Dry Gin.
58. Spar in the ring : BOX
59. Stop __ dime : ON A. A very sudden stop.
60. Filmmaker Craven : WES Producer, director, writer and actor with a long list of film credits including Nightmare on Elm Street and several Screams.