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&rest replacement/addition

re: . . . We found that &REST CONSing was
    taking time and space we couldn't afford (the things it was doing to
    the freelist! :-)

You didn't say what implementation of Common Lisp you were using.  Some
do ordinary CONSing for &rest lists; some do "stack allocation"; and finally
others offer a DYNAMIC-EXTENT declaration so that you can choose, on a
per-function basis.