today's puzzle is a collaboration with burak tekin, who constructs puzzles in both english and turkish, and who lives in nyc (although his heart remains in boston). he sent me a version of this puzzle a couple weeks ago, and i happened to find the meta very easy to solve, because i had a version of this puzzle that had been sitting in my "break glass in case of emergency" folder for over a year. i didn't particularly care for my version of the puzzle (indeed, there was a reason it hadn't been posted), but thankfully burak's version took a different tack than mine, and as a result we were able to combine the best ideas from both and make this puzzle.
burying the lede, maybe, but this collaboration is also a meta; the meta answer is a song from the 90s. there's no prize or anything, but when you solve it, feel free to email me anyway—it's always good to hear from solvers, and it gives me a sense of how difficult the meta was. also, the solution to this meta will probably be posted around the start of may, so you should have plenty of time to figure this out.
also, about this collaboration, burak has the following to say:
literally years ago, when i wanted to give constructing a hypothetical shot, chris was the first person i asked for advice; in return, he sent me probably the most detailed and helpful email i've ever received in my life. after a long period of procrastination, when i finally constructed a puzzle, i again turned to chris for feedback, and he sent me probably the second most detailed and helpful email i've ever received in my life. he's a great person to work with: meticulous, encouraging, and direct. as a rookie, this was a great learning experience, and i'm already looking forward to the next feedback email!i have nothing to add to that, except (a) i'm tempted to quote that on my resume, if i ever get around to updating it; (b) it was certainly a pleasure to work with burak, and i'm looking forward to doing so again; and (c) i'm always happy to collaborate, or at least offer advice and/or feedback; feel free to email me at any time.
and, while we're on the topic of collaborations, two bits of news. first, i have another collaboration out today: a universal sunday crossword (puz, pdf) titled "dessert dilemma", which steve faiella and myself constructed after he reached out to me with the theme idea. and second, a crossword i made in collaboration with rex parker got accepted by the la times; i'll be sure to let y'all know when that drops. (i'll also note that, of late, my overall acceptance rate for collaborations has been much higher than solo puzzles; i'll chalk that up to working with a lot of talented and intelligent people, as well as the fact that two heads are better than one.)