Hi Doremus, Mr. Bill, thanks for the feedback so far. I have a few additional thoughts:
1. When discussing ion exchange clearing baths as an aid to washing (HCA), Haist briefly mentions research pointing to the addition of clearing agents such as Sodium Sulfite, Sulfate and other compounds directly to the fixer, which could potentially eliminate the need for a separate HCA bath to improve washing/washing rates. At the time the book was written I guess there wasn't much on this yet, and it still concerned acidic fixers. Perhaps this is the "secret" behind purported faster washing with fixers like TF-4 or TF-5 rather than alkalinity per se (TF-5 is just slightly acidic). Perhaps people then incorrectly assume any alkaline fixer will wash out faster because TF-4 does.
2. Haist mentions research and experiments that showed treatment of the print in an alkaline solution after fixation can help washing. However I find the section unclear. It seems to relate mostly to the emulsion and again deals with bringing the gelatin up to the isoelectric point. But it is not clear why it might help to raise the pH beyond the isoelectric point, nor are actual pH values discussed. Swelling is mentioned in reference to both the emulsion and the paper base, but it seems swelling can actually slow down the rate of washing the emulsion due to a longer diffusion path. It is not entirely clear to me what the conclusion is regarding the rate of washing the paper base. Swell seems to help, but swell vs what? Vs the state of the paper when it comes out of the acid fixer? Or vs a neutral state?
3. Anchell makes the statement alkaline fixers wash faster than acidic ones. He doesn't really explain why other than to use laundry soap as an analogy, saying alkaline soap washed out of clothing fibers faster than an acidic detergent would. In Anchell/Troop the authors also cite faster washing as a benefit of alkaline fixers, although this is in relation to film, not paper (The Film Developing Cookbook).