Thanks for the AP, good read.
I have noticed that XP "slows down" around 3rd-level. So it's cool for getting some forward momentum in the beginning to keep things moving and make the players excited. As mentioned, it's an easy hack. XP-on-miss is probably one of the greatest things I've ever seen in a game. Every player I've run through the game loves it. The End of Session move is also so, so important. I definitely make time for it. The only thing I'm doing now is making the 3 questions at the end open-ended rather than yes/no. You get better answers that way. This conversation at the end of the game will really tell you what they found interesting and memorable about the game. That's gold for future sessions.
For what it's worth, this is the general go-to list I use for Defy Danger weak hits:
Worse Outcome: You're out of the danger, but now in a new one.
Hard Bargain: You're out of the danger, but it costs you something, right now.
Ugly Choice: You're out of the danger, but now you have to make a choice with no particularly good options.
The key thing is that they do what they set out to do, but... Also, I've noticed that if the danger itself is not well defined and the fiction going on at the moment not detailed and engaging, weak hit results on DD will be harder to arrive at. In pinch like this, I'll turn it back on the players. Someone will have a good idea if I don't.
Discern Realities and Spout Lore. I tend to look at these as fiction generation engines more than anything else (even more so than other moves). As I don't have a plot, they create new stuff rather than reveal something I planned beforehand. If it takes me more than a couple seconds to think of something, back to the players it goes, as appropriate. Like DD, if the fiction preceding the move isn't strong, it will be hard to come up with something on the spot. Another good reason to make sure the story is detailed and explored as you go. Could you give an example where Grimdrig thought SL and DR slowed things down? Sounds like an isolated case to me.