A reader brought it to my attention that on Chrome/Firefox the new theme was forcing registration. That was not the setting in WordPress, but the caprice of the theme. An issue I did not notice because I am always registered. I’ve reverted to the old theme, which does not seem to have the problem with slow page load at this time. If it does in the future, I will switch to a new theme, though make sure that the commenting system remains de facto functional.
Sorry about that.