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Destructive operations

Right you are.  I was assuming too much.  Just because something may
have horrible consequences doesn't necessarily make it illegal.
Modifying constants in compiled code has the same legal status as
modifying the SYMBOL-NAME string of a symbol.  ``It is an extremely
bad idea to modify'' a constant in compiled code.  ``Such a
modification may tremendously confuse'' any function which contains a
constant EQUAL to the one being modified.  For similar reasons, it is
a bad idea to modify any object which is used as a key in an EQUAL
hash table (this problem is unfortunately not mentioned in CLtL).