Things that come in PAIRS are represented by crossing two copies of the singular instance of same. Thus, we usually think of "tongs", "socks", "skis", or "pants". Here instead, [TONG] crosses [TONG].
Boy, that took a good deal of explaining. But what I liked about the theme was how the words were not used in their original sense within the longer answers. SOCKEYE was my briefest concern, but it turns out that's an Anglicization of the original word from Halkomelem, a language of an indigenous people in current British Columbia (thanks to Wikipedia for that bit of knowledge).
My favorite crossing was BREWSKI and HASKITTENS. It's much easier to do with a three-letter string, but I liked how the latter hid the word across two answer words. Also, it should be noted that in each of the other three pairs, the hidden word is placed at the outset of the answers. I suppose the circles were necessary on some level, but I think it would have worked just fine without them.
There was a surprising amount of lengthy answers in this grid, which made my time a little longer than I'd expect for a Tuesday. Not all of these answers are so great, such as COARSEN and IDOIDO. But you do get the nice IMINAWE and ALDENTE.
|Travel porn, anyone?|
Not such great stuff in the fill included things like NEUT, ALGA, and OHOK.
1A: Make a pass at (HITON) - C. It's fine.
Fave: IBEENHAD (10D: Informal cry from someone who is duped). You can see that they needed to adjust that clue. It should really read: ...from someone who has been duped, but that would dupe the been, if you see what I mean.
Least fave: NONPC (27A: Potentially offensive). I hate where so-called political correctness has taken us, from the strangeness of limited discourse in our universities, to the elevation of dingbats to the highest levels of political office.
Also, couldn't CORNER have been in the corner? It was so close.
P.S. I had a sudden flash of Dirty Dancing as I was finishing writing the review, and now I see why. Nobody puts corner in the corner.