kinzi you are absolutly right with your statements about the different Versions of Logic ICs.
I found a good Documentation about the specifications in the Logic Guide from Texas Instruments.
But in practise I've tried different versions of HC/HCT and LS Logic-IC in the Design of mahjongg and all of them worked.
As you can see: It can work, but it doesn't have to. So in Development it's surely better not to mix up the different Versions.
And the "precise" Sockets... I don't like them and I don't use them in Retro-Projects