Crossword Genius

Man ready to suppress central evil (10)


I believe the answer is:


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'evil' is the definition.
(similar in meaning)

'man ready to suppress central' is the wordplay.
I cannot really see how this works, but
'man' could be 'mal' and 'mal' is found within the answer.
'central' could be 'c' (common abbreviation in various government acronyms) and 'c' is found within the answer.
This may be the basis of the clue (or it may be nonsense).

Can you help me to learn more?

(Other definitions for maleficent that I've seen before include "Harmful" , "Evil" .)

I've seen this clue in The Independent.
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