Kind of a strange Wednesday theme, but what's new, right? Three giant plus signs made from black squares make simple equations with the words to the immediate left and right, and the answer to each (all) is given in the last Across clue, 60A: NINE. Add in six (!) short, tied-in, Down answers, and you've got a pretty dense theme. I confess I like the look of the grid a lot, with its counter-clockwise swirl and those giant crosses, and although it's strange, I can't fault the theme, because a theme is a theme, and variety is always welcome.
It's interesting to me that MOTIFS and "motives" are both valid words, coming from the same root, that evolved to have different meanings.
At the bottom we get the trio of EDENIC, LIAISE, and SONANT, but these don't bother me. Sure, they're a little unusual, but they're all perfectly cromulent words. More genant to me are TERSER (1D: More concise) ("conciser?"), and INDIGENE (8D: Person native to an area), because they feel like more of a stretch. Also, INDIGENE comes from in + gignere (to be born) and "indigent" comes from in + egere (to need). Not that anyone asked me, but I'm finding lots of cool word-y stuff to look into today!
Funny that "Twister" fits in where TORNADO (35D: What transported Dorothy to Oz) touched down, and I liked the pair of paired women clues for REDHEADS (55A: Annie and the Little Mermaid, notably) and SWEDE (43D: Greta Garbo or Ingrid Bergman). And speaking of women, it's a lovely clue for SMILE (20A: "We shall never know all the good that a simple ____ can do": Mother Teresa).
Get me, I'm givin' out wings. The more I look at this, the more I like it. Lots of good words FORSAKEN, HEIFER, SCRAPE, CHIDES - a lovely grid and an unusual theme. Thumbs up for this debut puzzle. I look forward to more from Ms. Randall!
p.s. 1A: Russian ruler (TSAR) - D- Kept out of F range because even overused, it's still a cool word.