put a pin in the flying saucer nut’s balloon

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Senior Member
Heads craned expectantly as people waited for the Judge to stand up and accept the responsibility in his usual rococo style; a whisper ran around the hall as people retold the story of how he had put a pin in the flying saucer nut’s balloon. Agendas were put down as people prepared to clap. Stu’s eyes met Glen’s with mutual chagrin: someone on the committee should have foreseen this.
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: A public meeting is in session. Someone nominated the Jude to head a Law Committee. Unknowingly to the public, the Judge has been bundled on a scout/spy mission by the Permanent Committee which is chaired by Stu and Glen - one of the members.

What does the bolded sentence mean?

Other words I looked up:
to crane: lean or stretch over your head or your neck in order to see better;pp
expectantly: in a way hoping for something exciting
chagrin: a feeling of disappointment or enbarrassement
rococo: extravagant

Thank you.
  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To burst someone's balloon is to disappoint that person by revealing the truth (the balloon represents the false belief that is destroyed). In this case I'd guess that there was someone who thought he'd seen a UFO that represented an extraterrestrial visitation, and the Judge had disappointed him by explaining the ordinary thing he'd actually seen.


    Senior Member
    Well, I don´t know anything about the judge's previous activities, but if you put a pin in a balloon all the air will come out. A flying saucer nut is presumably someone, slightly crazy, who believes aliens will land in flying saucers. So putting those together, evidently the judge previously deflated-put an end to someone's idea. I hope that makes sense in the context of the story.

    CROSS-POSTED with Hercules, who explained it much more simply, but I hate to delete all that effort I put into typing!


    Senior Member
    English - England
    put a pin in the flying saucer nut’s balloon.

    To put a pin in someone's balloon - to put an end to someone's fun/obsession/scheme, etc.
    "flying saucer" - normal meaning
    "nut" - lunatic; madman; obsessive; wild eccentric; someone who is mentally abnormal and behaves strangely, etc.
    "flying saucer nut" - without context it is not possible to be precise, but it sounds as if it means "someone who claims to have seen a flying saucer/that flying saucers exist/has been in a flying saucer, etc." and is abnormally obsessive about telling everyone about it.
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