It is possible that the difference in pH is enough to stimulate synergism. I have had developers with about the ratio of Metol-ascorbate without sulfite but with carbonate that are very active. Around pH=9 which you should get with borax in place of the TEA you might find you don-t need the sulfite. The research I based my experiment on used 0.05 moles of ascorbic acid at pH=8.7. I have to go now. Will return.