20. Come out on top : SCORE A VICTORY. Win an athletic contest.
34. Retail showcase : STORE DISPLAY. Where merchandise in on view, to make you want it. Here's a famous one.
41. Particle physics concept : STRING THEORY. This is a theoretical framework which posits dimensional objects called strings, and describes their interactions. It is a theory of quantum gravity.
56. Reporter's delivery ... and what 20-, 34- and 41-Across are literally doing? : BREAKING STORY. Fresh from the news room to the on-screen anchors desk. Mostly these things are political, so no more than that I will not say.
Hi Gang - JazzBumpa here to BREAK down the STORY of this puzzle, and report on what our investigations can uncover. Hope it's not too shocking. Item 1 - the constructor is our own hostess, C. C. Perhaps she will become the most prolific constructor ever. Item 2 - STORY is broken at the first letter, the last letter, and then as close as you can get to the middle in a 5-letter word. Nice, elegant touch.
1. Sporty British cars, for short : JAGS. Jaguars.
5. Omelet option : HAM. I usually get the veggie omelet with feta cheese.
8. Reef material : CORAL. Bad news. Sadly, they are under attack from star fish and the increasing acidity of the oceans. Some day there may be none left atoll.
13. Power co. output : ELECtricity. Zap!
14. Shaped like an avocado : OVAL. This is mandatory.
Found somewhere on the internet.
16. Dig deeply? : ADORE. Love, respect, worship, venerate. Clever misdirection with the clue. You are digging with your emotions, not a shovel, and the depth is into your soul, not the ground.
17. Fey with many Emmys : TINA. Known for her political satire - not gonna do it.
18. Baltic port : RIGA. The capital of Latvia, on the Baltic sea at the mouth of the river Daugava.
19. "Unbroken" director Angelina : JOLIE. A 2014 movie about Louis Zamparini, a U.S. olympic athlete and bombardier in WW II, who survived on a raft in the ocean for 47 days, and then was in PoW camps. In addition to her fame appearing on the silver screen, she has also directed several films.
23. Intends to hit : AIMS AT. Use your good eye.
24. Sushi roll fish : EEL. Any of 800 species of elongated fish lacking pelvic fins. Many also lack pectoral fins. It has a single fin ribbon running down the back for most of its length. They swim by generating body waves, and can swim backwards by reversing the wave.
25. "NewsHour" channel : PBS. Public Broadcasting System.
28. Novelist Rita __ Brown : MAE. [b 1944] Prolific author of novels, mysteries and screen plays, including the Mrs. Murphy mystery novel series.
29. [I give up!] : SIGH. AKA: SMH.
32. Vacation location : RESORT. Would you resort to staying in such a place?
36. Per item : EACH. Unit pricing.
39. Area for critical patients, briefly : Intensive Care Unit.
40. Diamond great Sandberg : RYNE. Played 2nd base for the Phillies, briefly in 1981, and then with the Cubs from 1982 until he retired mid-season in 1994. He came back and played for the Cubs again in 1996-7. He won 9 gold gloves and made 10 consecutive all star appearances. He was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2005.
46. Pub quiz fodder : TRIVIA. Unimportant bits of information.
47. Red Muppet who refers to himself in the third person : ELMO.
48. Bit of toy "ammo" : CAP. A paper or plastic disk containing a small amount of a shock-sensitive explosive compound. In a toy gun this simulates the noise and smoke of a real fire arm.
51. Gentle touch : DAB. As in blotting with a napkin.
52. Okay mark : CEE. I never felt they were OK.
54. Knuckleheads : IDIOTS. In slang, a generic term for stupid people - or perhaps those you don't agree with.
60. Humdinger : BEAUT. A particularly fine example of something, or sarcastically, the opposite.
62. Kitchenware brand : EKCO. They make all sort of kitchen gadgets: basters, peelers, knives, cutting boards, measuring spoons and cups, etc.
63. Blueprint detail : SPECification.
64. Subject of a certain management class : ANGER. There's a movie about it that I'm pretty glad I didn't see.
65. They may be choppy : SEAS. In high winds or stormy weather.
66. Fit together nicely : MESH. Hand in glove.
67. High-maintenance : NEEDY. Said of a person who requires an excess of emotional or monetary investment in a relationship.
68. "That's the spot" : AAH. You scratch my back . . .
69. Art Deco luminary : ERTE. Romain de Tirtoff [1892-1990] a Russian-born French artist known as ERTE from the French pronunciation of his initials*, was a pioneer in art deco.
* Hey, I could be ERTE, too!
1. Goods thrown overboard : JETSAM. Things that have been jettisoned from a ship at sea, frequently to lighten the ship's load. Not to be confused with flotsam - things lost from a vessel due to shipwreck or accident. The difference is significant in maritime law. Flotsam may be claimed by the original ship, JETSAM is the property of whoever finds it.
2. "Girl on Fire" singer Keys : ALICIA.
3. Biological mapping subject : GENOME. The complete set of genes present in an organism.
4. Permanent marks : SCARS.
5. Fictional captain Hornblower : HORATIO.
6. Tel __, Israel : AVIV.
7. Christmas trio : MAGI.
8. Persuades with flattery : CAJOLES.
9. Air Wick target : ODOR.
11. D-backs, on scoreboards : ARIzona.
12. Jack Reacher creator __ Child : LEE. Pen name of British author James D. Grant [b 1954.] Reacher is a fictional character who is a former army officer who drifts around the country getting into dangerous situations.
15. Doily fabric : LACE. A small ornamental mat of embroidery, lace, or paper that is placed under an item.
21. __ Los Angeles : EAST. An unincorporated area in Los Angeles County. At 96.7% Latino, it is the least diverse community in the county.
22. Actress Polo : TERI. Theresa Elizabeth Polo [b 1969] is an American TV and movie actress.
26. Dietary fiber : BRAN. Edible broken seed coats from cereal grains.
27. Eye problem : STYE. Inflammation at the eyelid caused by a bacterial infection of the gland at the base of an eyelash.
30. Determination : GRIT. It's true.
31. Anne of "Wag the Dog" : HECHE. Anne Celeste HECHE [b 1969] is an American actress, director and screenwriter.
33. Nimble : SPRY. Usually spoken of older people - maybe it's unexpected.
34. Improvised blade : SHIV.
35. Fight that may involve drawing : DUEL. Using drawn swords or pistols.
36. Started, as a co. : EST'D. Established.
37. Gillette brand : ATRA. Introduced in 1977, the first razor to feature a pivoting head.
38. Pegboard game : CRIBBAGE. A game played with cards in which a peg board is used to keep score. You can read about it here.
42. "So close, yet so far" : NICE TRY. A good, but unsuccessful effort, or, ironically, an attempt that was either not good or not a good thing to do.
43. Mother Earth, in Greek mythology : GAEA. The earth goddess who gave birth to both the Titans and the first humans.
44. "Holy cow!" : OMIGOSH. Oh my gosh - nice try!
45. Curtain supports : RODS. Devices used to support curtains, above windows or along showers.
48. Writer for whose father the National Baseball Hall of Fame city was named : COOPER. Cooperstown, New York is the municipality in question. Dad from the clue was William Cooper, who founded a village on Otsego Lake in the 1780's. His son, James Fenimore Cooper wrote many novels, including The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans.
49. Idle : AT REST.
50. Freudian analyst's concern : PSYCHE. The soul, mind or spirit that inhabits a human body. To Freud, the the structural model of the mind, or "psychic apparatus" comprises the id, ego, and super ego.
53. __ out: barely makes : EKES.
55. "Who's there?" answer : IT'S ME.
57. Was sorry about : RUED.
58. Furniture chain popular in dorms : IKEA. Our oldest granddaughter is a fan.
59. Sweet Sixteen org. : NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletic Association sponsors and organizes a single-elimination basketball tournament each spring, involving the 32 champions of division I conferences and 36 at-large teams chosen by a selection committee. The "Sweet Sixteen" are the teams winning early rounds that winnow the field down to 16 contenders.
60. Prohibit : BAN.
61. Suffix with ethyl : -ENE. This chemistry suffix indicates a double bond between the 2 carbon atoms in the molecule. Since your eyes are already glazing over, I'll leave it at that.
OK, folks - that's the end of this STORY. Hope you enjoyed it.