Classic NYT puzzle theme, if you ask me - someone whose been doing the dailies regularly for a couple of years…. ha! Still, it's a classic, right? A word wedged in between two other words. Today's word is "DOPE." Man did I have a rush of weird nostalgic déjà vu when I finally realized that "53A: Robert Redford's 'great' 1975 role" was WALDOPEPPER. I remember that I saw that, and I think I enjoyed it, but that is the limit of my memory where that movie is concerned.
This played a lot harder than yesterday for me, but there was some stuff that I didn't really enjoy. I should know NEVA (13A: St. Petersburg's river), perhaps, but is TEENER (50D: Many a Taylor Swift fan) a thing? Sure, I've heard of "tweener," but "teener?" Isn't it just "teen?" STEEPEN (45D: Make more inclined) seems a little forced, and we get both CREE and OTOE in the grid today.
On the other hand, you gotta love LINUS (14A: "Peanuts" kid with a security blanket), PHASERS (46D: "Star Trek" weapons), and BRUCELEE (21A: "Fist of Fury" star, 1972), right? I enjoyed the clue for TOILETS (10D: Facilities) too. It had me confused for a long while. And speaking of good clues, 27A: Making the rounds? (INORBIT) and 54D: What a big mouth might have (DELTA) were very nice as well.
On balance, I'll give this one a thumbs up.