I think the specific question you had was about VC paper and highlight control.

There are two things going on - the first is tanning of the gelatin. This is common to all the pyro type developers, including pyrocat. The tanning action hardens the gelatin and helps prevent runaway, or infectious development in really hot highlight areas. This is one way that all pyro type developers are supposed to help 'tame' really bright highlights. Think of this contrast control as a 'global' effect that will affect the entire density range of the negative

The second issue is the stain color. This is where pyrocat differs from PMK, ABC and Rollo. All except ABC use metaborate to create the high pH necessary to develop the film, and it will cause a yellow-green stain. In fact, I have proven accidentally that if you use metaborate and part A of pyrocat together, you will get a green stain, not to mention a bulletproof negative! This green stain ideally is proportional to the silver density, so the highlights are more green than the shadows. The green effectively filters the bluish high contrast light that affects the high contrast part of VC paper emulsion. So a green pyro proportionally stained negative will cause the highlights to print softer 'automagically' on VC paper. Think of this contrast control as 'local', since its effect is concentrated where the most stain occurs, i.e. the highlights.

Pyrocat, on the other hand, has a brown stain color, and does not seem to cause the same highlight softening as the metaborate based developers and ABC. So, you get more highlight contrast with VC papers and pyrocat. But you still get the global highlight control of a tanning developer. So the statements are not necessarily contradictory, as I think Sandy is referring to two different attributes of the developers.

Of course, I'm putting words in Sandy's mouth, so Sandy, call me down if I am full of it.

Clay