No worries Thomas, you've been a tremendous help.
I found an old hot plate here at the lab that has a finicky controller. I can probably get it to a nice warmth....
At what point do these trays start to melt? ;-)
I think Tim's use of the word 'grudging' seems right via my experience....
I also think the higher contrast negative might have helped me out here. Another negative was a bit more tricky and had a midtone I wanted to keep on the lighter side (person's skin in shadow).
Hopefully the heat will give me some flexibility back. I noticed the explosion in the fixer also wasn't that prevalent. I think to see that I had to have fresh,hot developer.