We extend the ℓ0-norm "subspectral". algorithms developed for sparse-LDA  and sparse-PCA  to more general quadratic costs such as MSE in linear (or kernel) regression. The resulting "Sparse Least Squares" (SLS) problem is also NP-hard, by way of its equivalence to a rank-1 sparse eigenvalue problem. Specifically, for minimizing general quadratic cost functions we use a highly-efficient method for direct eigenvalue computation based on partitioned matrix inverse techniques that leads to × 103 speed-ups over standard eigenvalue decomposition. This increased efficiency mitigates the O(n4) complexity that limited the previous algorithms' utility for high-dimensional problems. Moreover, the new computation prioritizes the role of the less-myopic backward elimination stage which becomes even more efficient than forward selection. Similarly, branch-and-bound search for Exact Sparse Least Squares (ESLS) also benefits from partitioned matrix techniques. Our Greedy Sparse Least Squares (GSLS) algorithm generalizes Natarajan's algorithm  also known as Order-Recursive Matching Pursuit (ORMP). Specifically, the forward pass of GSLS is exactly equivalent to ORMP but is more efficient, and by including the backward pass, which only doubles the computation, we can achieve a lower MSE than ORMP. In experimental comparisons with LARS , forward-GSLS is shown to be not only more efficient and accurate but more flexible in terms of choice of regularizaron.