When asked about his choice of developer in an interview, Ara Guler (a Turkish photographer who is mostly known for his documentary photographs between 1950-1970) says in loose translation: "...it's like ID-11/D76 but with more Borax. This slows down the development and decreases grain. I develop my film in 36-38 minutes. There is more detail in slowly developed film. If you develop your film in 10 minutes the blacks will be too dark..."
This statement has bugged me for a long time. Sometimes I even thought he is taking the piss. However, a while ago I bought a copy of "Darkroom", an out of print book in which, among other photographers, Eugene Smith talks about his darkroom practices. Smith also says that his developer is like D76 but "...with ten times the normal amount of the Kodalk of Borax...". Now, I know that Smith was Ara Guler's most revered photographer, and they may very well have been buddies in Magnum. So he may have gotten this formula from Smith.
My question is, do you have any experience with such a developer? Does additional Borax indeed decrease grain? Is a dev time of 36 minutes realistic? Does this developer have a name? Any comments are welcome.