The first two let me write (@func arg1 restargs) instead of (apply func arg1 restargs) and ($func xs) instead of (map xs). However, this $ makes the $ macro misbehave, and so I added ssyntax turning @ into apply and $ into the original $ macro. It turns out that this technique is fully generic, since ssyntax essentially does a find-and-replace on symbols:
arc> (= defsym add-ssyntax-top)
#3(tagged mac #<procedure>)
arc> (defsym RANDOM (rand))
arc> (= things '(alpha beta gamma))
(alpha beta gamma)
arc> (defsym THING1 (car things))
arc> (= THING1 'one)
(one beta gamma)
arc> (defsym NOISY (do (prn 'HI) nil))
arc> (car NOISY)
This is actually really nifty, even if it's an unintended side effect. On some level, though, I'm not fully convinced of the value of this---it seems a bit omnipresent. Then again, Common Lisp works fine with them, so perhaps they're fine for Arc too. Are there naming conventions for symbol macros in Common Lisp? I used capital letters above just because I wanted some distinguishing mark.
There are a couple of caveats: first, every time you run add-ssyntax-top, you'll add another entry to the ssyntax table instead of overwriting the old one, so redefinition will make ssyntax slower if it's done too much. Second, the five tokens R, r, L, l, and ... are all unavailable, even if quoted; they turn the given string into modifying ssyntax, not standalone ssyntax. Still, this is a new option I hadn't thought about yet.