Figure to be defeated at the end of play (5)
I believe the answer is:
Here is my best explanation:
'figure' is the definition.
The answer and definition can be both related to communication as well as being singular nouns.
Maybe they are linked in a way I don't understand?
'be defeated at the end of play' is the wordplay.
'be defeated' becomes 'lose' (I've seen this before).
'at' is a charade indicator (letters next to each other) (I've seen this in other clues).
'the end of play' becomes 'c' (I can't justify this - if you can you should believe this answer much more).
'lose' put after 'c' is 'CLOSE'.
'to' acts as a link.
Can you help me to learn more?