20 Tampa Bay riddles that’ll lead you to the most offbeat landmarks

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Joshua Ginsberg’s last book, “Secret Tampa Bay,” reads like a full-on guide to the weird and wonderful places in the Bay area. It’s the kind of information that makes you the most interesting person on Tinder, and now Ginsberg has a follow-up where you and the fiancé-you-met-online can take friends on crazy day trips across the entire region.

“Tampa Bay Scavenger” is 192 pages, out now via St, Louis, Missouri’s Reedy Press, and it’s not exactly casual weekend walking tour material. Using more than 350 rhyming riddles, Ginsberg—who was inspired by author Misha Collins’ “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt” (GISH)—sends readers across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties to tap into the same wonderment that led him to both “Secret Tampa Bay” and his latest work.

“Tampa Bay Scavenger” book signing w/Joshua Ginsberg
Saturday, Oct. 30. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free.
Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center
610 S Fort Harrison, Clearwater
clearwaterhistoricalsociety.org

“My last book was sort of the culmination in many ways of trying to seek out and rediscover the sense of wonder and awe I had about the world when I was younger. I think most of us share that experience, to some extent. 'Tampa Bay Scavenger' has allowed me to dig deeper into my own past, to a time when my friends and I would read riddles and solve mazes and other brain teasers,” Ginsberg wrote in a release. “It gave me a totally different framework for writing about places and yet another way to view the place I live – this time as a gameboard or as the setting for some kind of adventure or quest.”

But it wasn’t easy. Tampa Bay is a rapidly changing place, and at least once a week, Ginsberg would show up to a location to shoot and find that it had been knocked down to make room for a hotel, condo or strip mall.

“It made the writing process a lot more challenging. Also, since this is part of a new series of books for Reedy, we were continually changing the layout and structure including how many counties to include and how many riddles per neighborhood. I think I wrote somewhere in the ballpark of 500 riddles to arrive at the final 357,” he said.

And once they arrive at his riddles, Ginsberg, invites readers to register at tampabayscavenger.com then submit their answers. What’s more is that $1 from every book sale on the website goes to Random Acts, which supports a wide range of charitable projects including disaster relief and hunger.

“My hope is that no matter who you are and what your interests and level of knowledge about local history, that the book will lead you to some places you’ve never been before and maybe didn’t even realize existed,” Ginsberg said.

As a Halloween treat to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay readers, Ginsberg has shared 20 unreleased riddles—and answers—just for you.

| Photos by Joshua Ginsberg

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