No need to apologize, Mark. You'll learn something from it, and I'll certainly learn something from it. I think that challenging negs are interesting for a negative exchange, since they'll force us to try different solutions.

If it were my own neg, I'd probably try local intensification on the neg to bring up the detail that's there in the shadows and then water bath development on the print to minimize contrast as well as some burning for the highlights. Since it's not my neg, I won't do anything that will permanently change the neg like local intensification, but I may try a contrast mask, which is not a technique I've used very much.