Never fear! I'll show up to flog this horse in the nick of time! Y'know, before rigor mortis sets in.
Here's another I/O utility I think would be useful.
(def readlines (n (o str (stdin)))
(let line nil
(repeat n (= line (readline str)))
It undoubtedly sets a variable (just not a global), though I think the "challenger" phrased the requirement as such because of a C-centric view: allocate a chunk of memory for the string, then read the string into there (which, technically, even a simple (readline) does). Anyway... With all of these, the Arc code would look something like
And I don't think I could squeeze more out of that without getting overly specific. Of course, readlines is a conventional name for something that just reads all the lines of a stream, but I think we could reasonably use names closer to Arc's allchars and filechars.