by John McCall


Ben Franklin,
Gimme a Break

Puzzles based on Ben and Verse


These puzzles are derived from the website Ben and Verse (, which includes a brief biography, Ben’s famous “Thirteen Virtues” -- and over 200 prose sayings and related verses alphabetically arranged by subject (which can also be downloaded for offline viewing at Ben to Go). To receive a daily quote by Franklin, see the home page.

Students are asked to answer the puzzles. Also, if time permits, teachers might invite students to create their own sayings – not necessarily related to Franklin -- in prose or verse.

Teachers are also asked to send me comments of any kind (contact me here). I would particularly like to know which group of puzzles seems to work best for each grade or age group.

These web pages are designed to be printer-friendly, but for an even friendlier layout you can download them as a single PDF file. Please feel free to copy the puzzles and distribute them to your students.

Caution: Michael Hart, inventor of the e-book, said of "Ben and Verse" in his monthly publication: "Happy reading from the inventor of bifocals." Retired director of the Gutenberg Project, which he founded, Hart made generous efforts to include "Ben and Verse." I mistakenly assumed that it had been included -- and made that erroneous claim. Some instances must remain on the internet. Please disregard them.(The Project, as you know, is one of the great and truly distinctive libraries of the world, providing classic and modern works. They may be downloaded or read at no charge.)

I am grateful to Paul Stephens, my webmaster, for making this work possible and to my dear friend Ann Whyte for many useful reviews of the text, for Aiden Kilbride’s critique of the presentation, and to Latasha Williams for general support. I also very much appreciate the advice of Carla Beard, David Preston, Deanna Miller, Walter and Angel Broadnax, and Ann Vokes.

And special thanks to Azad Ali and to his technician Qais Husseini for their technical expertise, for their key role in negotiations for the project, and for their endless patience with the with the very un-technical author.

John D McCall

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Rev 2010-1.