I would not have developed Delta 100 that long in that formula. I would have guessed at most 10 minutes. However, the point that the development with Metol-ascorbate-carbonate is very vigorous is made. The trouble with trying to compare it with Metol alone is that aerial oxidation will happen very rapidly without some antioxidant.

Metol and sulfite in water are the only ingredients of D-23, which is quite active. If you were to develop Delta 100 in D-23 for 18 minutes you would also get overdeveloped high contrast negatives, I'll wager. Sodium ascorbate doesn't give as much pH as sodium sulfite, but if you were to add enough borax or metaborate to equalize the pH, I'll bet you will get the same activity with much less ascorbate, even though the molecular weight of ascorbate is considerably lower than that of sodium sulfite and should need more grams to get the same number of molecules.

I have to disagree that sulfite restores hydroquinone. The data in Mees & James show that it forms the hydroquinone monosulfonate but increases induction period and reduces rate of increase of contrast. If you want to try a hydroquinone-sulfite developer without added alkali, go ahead. I think you might have to wait all day for somethiong to happen. In fact, I think I will go and do that now.