Sheer Will And Determination. It worked. I now have a pair of socks the same size and not too dissimilar in looks. The fabric is still dense but that is not the fault of the last-ditch effort to save them. I should have used a size larger needle and fewer stitches.
Curiously enough the free pattern included on the inside of the ball band directed me to do this very thing. With size 3 needles instead of size 2 and with 56 stitches instead of 64, I just might have saved myself a few days, a headache, and wound up with softer socks. Go Figure.
But this experiment was definitely worth the time and trouble. Sometime in the future on a more serious project and one perhaps with a greater investment in yarn, I might need to cut off some edge either to shorten or to lengthen.