Paul Zimmerman pointed out to me that there's a feature of the legacy
Sage Notebook, automatic_names() [1], which turns on automatic
creation of symbolic variables and functions when they are not already
defined.  For example, by default if you enter:

    sage: x + y + z

you get:

    NameError: name 'y' is not defined

('y', in this case, because 'x' is pre-defined as a special case).
With automatic_names(True) it inserts a shim into the Sage syntax
pre-processor that automatically creates variables from names not
already found in globals().

I see no reason this feature needs to be confined to the legacy
Notebook, as opposed to being in Sage proper.  Then that feature would
be usable at the command-line, as well as in the Jupyter Notebook.

Thoughts?

[1] 
https://github.com/sagemath/sagenb/blob/e6910891f445e47690760966441328971d51a78d/sagenb/misc/support.py#L602

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