In the days when this blog recorded the trials and tribulations of competing at Race the Clock (the Times Crossword Club's previous contest, using Dutch software, for solving the T2 Concise crossword), Ninas cropped up pretty frequently but they didn't appear every day. In addition, the software allowed you to keep trying until you solved the puzzle correctly (or gave up), so that if, as happened all too often, a clue allowed more than one possible answer, you at least got a second (or third, or fourth ...) chance. Nowadays there's a Nina every day; and the current software gives you no second chance should you choose the wrong answer to an ambiguous clue. In some - probably most - cases, the Nina resolves the ambiguity, but it appears that I'm not the only solver who finds this tiresome.
Speaking personally, I'd be quite happy if there were no Ninas at all. I find the Sunday Times Concise puzzles, which don't have Ninas (at least not obvious ones), more enjoyable, though that's obviously helped by their being more of a challenge. Most of the Ninas in the T2 Concise puzzles these days are pretty boring: a particular letter appearing in each answer, some blindingly obvious theme, that sort of thing. (Fortunately we haven't had a repetition of the complete works of Philip K. Dick appearing on successive Mondays, where the predictability - once someone had tumbled to the sequence - made for a particularly dire experience.) However, some people clearly enjoy Ninas, and I've no objection to the occasional Nina provided it presents a decent challenge. So I suggest that the setter should provide one interesting Nina a week, either on a fixed day or on a day chosen each week at random. And it should definitely not
be used to resolve ambiguities in clues.Footnote
I expect most readers of this blog will know all about Ninas, but in case you're left in the dark, you'll find an explanation in this blog's original FAQ (here
Current Location: Ealing
Current Mood: bored