Last Saturday I made a BIG mistake: I made some test strips, brought them to the full light, liked them, and made several (ahhh, 6!!) prints(20x30 cm). To my great dissappointment all of them lacked any contrast, looked grey and "muddy". No life, no brilliance.

Then I printed the same image on Fomaspeed RC normal contrast paper and suddenly the contrast was there and the picture was very lively.

I am trying to analyze what happened. The "inputs" are:

Safelight - the same as always (brownish-red)
Paper - Ilford MG Xpress
Filter - Ilford, #3
Developer - Ilford MG, freshly mixed
Stop-bath - water with a splash of vinegar
Fixer - Ilford Rapid Fixer, freshly mixed
Washing - tap water

Based on the different results from two different brands of paper I might assume that it was the paper. But I can't believe that Ilford would sell such a bad batch and I was so unlucky to get it.

Is there anything else in the setup which might've caused the problem?

Thanks for your opinions.
Kate