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I agree with Nick's analysis. A reference to a constant may be compiled
as a variable reference or the value of the constant at compile time may
be wired into the code, but if the latter is done, this should not
depend on the constant having been initialized at load time. I agree
that the manual is too vague on this point, and should be clarified.
I suspect that KCL handles Defconstant this way in order to optimize the
use of lists as constants, while still observing the requirement that
all references to the constant must be EQL to one another, but this is a
very tricky business and is probably not worth the trouble it takes to
get it right.