The rebus-with-a-twist theme is clever and the revealer ("Common farming technique ... or a hint to solving this puzzle" CROPROTATION) is apt! I finally figured it out with DUCHESSOF[CORN]WALL/HOT[CORN]ER - thanks to my vague interest in the British royal family. The clue at 7D: "Third base, in baseball lingo" was no help.
It took me forever to even understand the clue for P[RICE]RANGE (General amount of money that something sells for), even though it made perfect sense once I figured it out. There was so much I didn't know in that section of the puzzle that's a wonder I ever got it. I owe that one to the clue "Stunning creatures of the Amazon." The answer just had to be ELECT[RICE]ELS.
I did guess that rye would be the third crop, but like a tray-bingo in Scrabble, I couldn't find the right place to play it. It didn't help that I had AROn where AROD belonged. In hindsight, the use of the word "Yank" in the clue was trying to steer me in the right direction, but I'm not sure I ever would have come up with him. As esteemed readers of this blog know, sports ball is often my Achilles heel. So, after a long scratcher in the rye, I finally gave up on the middle east and asked Horace for a tip - in part so I could get this review written!
There were a number of other clues and answers that I would ROOTON (although, not that one). I thought "Alternative to plugs" (TOUPEE) was kinda funny, but the word plugs - not super beautiful on the best of days - garners an additional connotation of ick in this context. "Good name for a tort lawyer" (SUE) made me smile. I also enjoyed LETLOOSE for "Delivered a rant" and "Friend to none" (PARIAH) is good, too.
That I thought this puzzle was a little on the difficult side, even for a Thursday, will surprise no one. But, I will say, that part of what made this a NOGO was the trouble I had with the non-theme clues that surrounded the rebī. They just weren't in my wheelhouse.