Also, A quote attributed to Paterno in the PG:
Since when is “heckuva” a word? I understand Paterno may mush his words together so “heck of a” becomes “heckuva,” but where and when did the Post-Gazette decide that “heckuva” was going to be perfectly acceptable vernacular? The Trib uses it too, and 9 times out of ten, it is used in the sports pages.
And how do they distinguish between a coach that says “heck of a” and a coach that says “heckuva?” How much is the appropriate spacing between the words before a “heckuva” becomes a legitimate “heck of a?”
I bet they have break-out workshop sessions in the sports rooms at newspapers where all the sports writers gather around with their brown bag lunches and listen to a linguistics coach help them with this little puzzle.
“Okay, Ed? There you are. You did really good on your quiz. You distinguished seven of ten heckuvas from heck of a’s. Helluva job man!”