The way I like to think of it is with a laundry analogy. CPU instructions are like loads of laundry. You need to use both the washer and the dryer for each load. Let's say that each takes 30 minutes to run. That is the clock cycle. Old CPUs would run the washer, then run the dryer, taking 60 minutes (2 cycles) to finish each load of laundry, every time.
Pipelining: A pipeline is when you use both at the same time -- you wash a load, then while it is drying, you wash the next load. The first load takes 2 cycles to finish, but the second load is finished after 1 more cycle. So, most loads only need 1 cycle, except the first load.
Superscalar: Take all the laundry to the laundromat. Get 2 washers and load them both. When they are done, find 2 dryers and use them both. Now you can wash and dry 2 loads in 60 minutes. That is 2 loads in 2 cycles. Each load still takes 2 cycles, but you can do more of them now. Average time is now 1 load per cycle.
Superscalar with Pipelining: Wash the first 2 loads, then while these are drying, load up the washers with the next 2 loads. Now, the first 2 loads still take 2 cycles, and then the next 2 are finished after 1 more cycle. So, most of the time, you finish 2 loads in each cycle.
Multiple cores: Give half of your laundry to your mother, who also has 2 washers and 2 dryers. With both of you working together, you can get twice as much done. This is similar to superscalar, but slightly different. Instead of you having to move all laundry to and from each machine yourself, she can do that at the same time as you.
This is great, we can do eight times more laundry than before in the same amount of time, without having to create faster machines. (Double the clock speed: Washing machines that only need 15 minutes to run.)
Now, let's talk about how things go wrong:
Pipeline bubble: You have a stain that did not come out in the wash, so you decide to wash it again. Now the dryer is just sitting there, waiting for something to do.
Cache Miss: The truck that delivers the dirty laundry is stuck in traffic. Now you have 2 washers and 2 dryers, but you are getting no work done because you have to wait.
Depending on how often things go wrong, we will not be able to always get 4 loads done every cycle, so the actual amount of work done may vary.
Branch Prediction: Well, you start doing laundry on your clean clothes in case you stain them later so they will be clean already ... Okay, this is where the analogy breaks down.