The Cessna and its three occupants were returning from Venice, Florida, 60 nm away. They approached PIE from the southwest, reported eight miles out, and received a transponder code and a 50-degree vector to the left downwind leg for Runway 22. When the 172 was established on the downwind for 22, the tower issued a landing clearance. Unexpectedly, the 170-hour pilot turned base early and proceeded toward Runway 27, which meets Runway 22 about 1,000 feet from the latter's approach end. "Zero Zero Quebec, verify you're lined up for Runway 22," the controller said. "Zero Zero Quebec, sorry about that," was the reply.