What's a Gumshoe?


Gumshoe is slang for detective. It's also the name of a FUNdraising detective walk held every summer in Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods. Since it began in 2006, the Gumshoe has raised over $74,000 for these local non-profits:

Greenwood Senior Center
Greenwood Elementary School PTA
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church Food Bank

NOTE: The Gumshoe's Year 15 Finale was originally scheduled for July and August 2020, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has been postponed until 2021 and the information on the rest of this site updated to reflect that change. To keep the embers burning through the delay, the Answer Man has dusted off and updated three old Gumshoes you can do for free. To print 'em, click these links—each will be activated on the date indicated:

June 1 Oldie But GoodieAnswers
July 1 Oldie But GoodieAnswers
August 1 Oldie But GoodieAnswers

Answers to each OBG are posted on the last day of its month.

Now, back—er, forward—to next year …

The year 2021, the Gumshoe's 15th, is it's last. The organizer, aka the Answer Man, is hanging up his spyglass to work on a new community kindness project, KinderReminder. So to go out with a bang, this year's Gumshoe features not one, but two walks—one in July and one in August.

The August walk is new and its proceeds will go to the usual suspects—the senior center, PTA and food bank. The July walk, however, reprises the very first Gumshoe, updated to reflect changes in the neighborhood since it debuted in 2006, and its proceeds will fund KinderReminder.

If you haven't gumshoed before, 2021 is your last chance. To get a flavor for gumshoeing, click here, then lace up your sneakers, don your deerstalker, head to the Phinney Center, Ken's or Couth Buzzard and buy an entry form!

How to Gumshoe

Step 1: Entry forms go on sale Friday, July 9 for the July Gumshoe and Friday, August 67 for the August Gumshoe. Makes sense, doesn't it? Get entry forms at one of these sales outlets:

Phinney Center
6532 Phinney Ave N
Credit card, cash or check
Ken's Market
7231 Greenwood Ave N
Debit or credit card, cash or check payable to "PNA"
Couth Buzzard Books
8310 Greenwood Ave N
Cash or check only

A single entry form is $20, but if you drag kids, friends, neighbors or innocent bystanders along and buy two or more at the same time, they're just $15 each.

Step 2: Once you and your accomplices have your entry forms, head to the Gumshoe's start/end point—Phinney Center in July, Couth Buzzard Books in August—and solve the 30 clues that lead you through the 5 kilometer roundtrip. That's roughly 3.1 miles of brain and body exercise.

Step 3: Return your entry form to any of the places that sell them by 6p Sunday the last day of the Gumshoe—July 25 or August 22— and you're entered in that Gumshoe's prize drawing with a chance to win one of 10 $100 gift cards to these local businesses:

Red Mill Burgers
El Chupacabra
Greenwood Hardware
Ridge Pizza
Nutty Squirrel Gelato
Ken's Market
Phinney Books
Gorgeous George's
The Olive and Grape
Snapdoodle Toys & Games


Should you buy an entry form and find you haven't done the Gumshoe for whatever reason—you were lost at the first clue, your walking partner bugged out on you, the dog ate your entry form—you can salvage your investment by doing the Procrastishoe!

Join other last-minute gumshoes at 3p on the last day of the walk at its start/end point—July 25 at the Phinney Center or August 22 at Couth Buzzard Books— to collectively do the walk with the Answer Man hinting everyone along. You’ll be done in time to turn in your entry form before the event wraps at 6p the same day.

What Else You Need to Know

100% of July Gumshoe proceeds go to KinderReminder's new community kindness project and 100% of August proceeds go to the senior center, PTA and food bank. Nobody is paid to help with KinderReminder or the Gumshoe.

Commemorative Mug

If you do both of this year's Gumshoes, you can order a commemorative mug with this wrap-around design through the Phinney Neighborhood Association for $9—that's cost plus a little extra to the PNA for handling. Supplies will be limited and orders filled on a first paid, first served basis. Look for ordering details in the August Gumshoe entry form!

While the Gumshoe has been a FUNdraiser, it's also been about connecting people to the neighborhood and building community. It's amazing what you discover when you walk and pay attention, and the event wouldn't have happened these past 15 years without some pretty amazing support from the businesses and organizations mentioned above and these four individuals:



Want to know more? Email the Gumshoe Answer Man.