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 contains over 200 quotations by Benjamin Franklin, each one accompanied by a rhyming 'jingle' which expresses the same sentiment in modern terms.

The puzzles also contain Franklin quotes, but this time with a choice of three, four or five possible modern versions. Your task is to choose which version most accurately represents the sentiment of the quotation. Also, if time permits, teachers might invite students to create their own sayings – not necessarily related to Franklin -- in prose or verse.

To view the puzzles, answers and accompanying notes, chose the options from the menu on the left-hand side of this page. 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.

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

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 very un-technical author.

John D McCall

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Rev 2010-1.