Crossword Genius

Very cheap beside nonentity (4,2,7)

Ross

I believe the answer is:

next to nothing

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'very cheap' is the definition.
I can't tell whether this defines the answer.

'beside nonentity' is the wordplay.
'beside' becomes 'next to' (I've seen this in another clue).
'nonentity' becomes 'nothing' (I can't explain this - if you can you should believe this answer much more).
'nextto'+'nothing'='NEXT TO NOTHING'

Can you help me to learn more?

(Other definitions for next to nothing that I've seen before include "utterly unimportant", "Lacking neighbours", "Very little", "Not much".)

I've seen this clue in Sydney Morning Herald.
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