Well, I got a little ticked by the expression, "have your cake and eat it too". Sometimes the way I think, that means deliberately breaking the Zone rules by overdeveloping a "normal" scene ratio to
expand the midtone and highlight gradation, and then punching in the delicacy of the extremes using
either unsharp masking or split printing. The latter is easier.
I agree with you that sometimes a negative of higher than normal contrast makes for a better print. Both because of the midtone separation you mention, and because it makes me work harder in the darkroom.
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".