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Direct opposite of a scholarly exercise? (10)


I believe the answer is:


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'direct opposite' is the definition.
(I've seen this before)

'a scholarly exercise?' is the wordplay.
I cannot really understand how this works, but
'a' could be 'an' and 'an' is found within the answer.
This may be the basis of clue (or it may be nonsense).

'of' is the link.

Can you help me to learn more?

(Other definitions for antithesis that I've seen before include "Opposition" , "Contrast between two things" , "I oppose the suggestion" , "Opposite; contrasting idea" , "opposing view" .)

I've seen this clue in The Globe and Mail.
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