“Humans are the only animals who create and solve puzzles—for the sheer pleasure of it.” Will Shortz, Crossword Editor, The New York Times
I enjoy crossword puzzles, sudoku and those metal entanglement puzzles…you know, the kind where you try to get a ring separated from a pair of horseshoes, etc. Some psychologists believe that a puzzle’s primary function is to provide comic relief from unanswerable larger questions.
Whichever misfiring nuerons are responsible for such a fruitless task are, I believe, also responsible for my
addiction enjoyment of CW pile-ups.
Imagine being an outside observer of someone working on a puzzle – any type of puzzle. To someone unfamiliar with it, the person immersed in solving the puzzle may appear to be working at random without a strategy. In fact, if he’s a beginner at that type of puzzle, he probably is working without a strategy – just bulldozing his way through as best he can.
Over time, and with experience, he’ll develop a Method…something he’s found that will shortcut the process. Later, more strategies will emerge and be implemented that will speed up the process…but to the casual observer, those strategies will be indiscernable. It will appear that rapid completion of the puzzle – or perhaps its completion at all – is due to luck.
The observer may then try his hand at it. Luck notwithstanding, it will take ages and may end in frustration, cursing and heavy drinking.
Our whole life is solving puzzles. Erno Rubik
Pile-ups are puzzles if, and only if, they are CW.
No other mode allows strategy and methodology to be injected into the formula to the same degree as CW. A pile-up on SSB is usually broken by power. A “watt advantage” over your competitors counts for a lot. Power matters. Ditto for the digital modes.
In CW, power differences among pile-up participants matter much less. There is wiggle room – room in which to implement your Method. Nuances of timing and transmit frequency that are lost in the fat spectra of SSB’s bandwidth.
With CW, you can finesse your signal into the ideal spot amongst the other participants; on SSB you cram it. The not so subtle difference between those two verbs is exactly the difference between operating technique and strategy-ability between the two modes.
In an SSB pile-up, you’re hunting with a shotgun; in a CW pile-up, you’re playing chess.
Brawn vs. brain.