Thank you for your comments. Indeed, it looks more like a word play than a strict doctrinal point. In addition, the Buddha was speaking to a Brahmin who was not a lay-follower yet, so the discourse is probably not to be taken as exact doctrinal points.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu does mention in the note the inconsistency of the particular term in use here, ie. "nittha".
Many thanks for your comments!