one thing you might try is to expose the face to zone VII and then develop N-1. You will get a nice fat neg that is relatively easy to print with a lot of mid tones.

try it you will like it!

Something else to try if you make your own developers is to make D-23 and cut the development time by 15% and then put the film into a borax solution. I use about a tea spoon per quart of water. leave it in for about 3-4 minutes. You can agitate or not. then off to the fixer. You will reduce the contrast by at least one stop and maybe more if you don't agitate. I used to use Kodalk but tried Borax and it is cheaper and nearly the same chemical. to use this technique you need to plan ahead. I shoot my film at the box rating anyway and when I use this technique I give the film more exposure. The example I always use is HP5+ is said to be a 400 speed film. I find it more like a 200 speed film therefore, I shoot the HP5+ at 100 for this technique. I find it useful for those reciprocity problems that crop up time to time. I think this will work with Microdol-x if D23 is not available. Use is straight.

there you go two tricks. The rest cost money!