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Cue O'Clock

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Oh crud, it's quarter past zeppelin already!?

In comedies, clock dials are occasionally seen with one or more of the numbers replaced by a non-numerical word or picture telling what will happen on the hour.

A slight variation of this is when a character creates a fictional time based on the actions of one or more other characters.

The name of the trope Otaku O'Clock is an example of this; it refers to the tendency of anime airing late in the night.



Anime & Manga


  • Russ Abbot: One sketch parodies High Noon. Just in case the audience wasn't sure about this, the number 12 on the bar clock is replaced by the words "High Noon".

Comic Books

  • Bamse: Skalman has an "eat-and-sleep" alarm clock like this that he always follows to the letter; for example, he's impossible to wake up if the clock says it's nap time. This obsessive schedule keeps his Deus ex Machina tendencies in line.

Fan Works

  • Half Past Adventure: The fic's title treats the word "adventure" as if it were a dial number on a clock, akin to saying "half past ten". It's a pun on its source material being called Adventure Time.
  • Ill Gotten Gains: On the day of departure to the internships, Shinsou pops to Class 1-A as he too is part of the program—in this Alternate Universe, he wins the Sports Festival. Ashido makes her intentions to 'say hello' to Shinsou known. Acknowledging that her endless curiosity and gossipy attitude won't let her just say hello, Bakugo, being his usual Sir Swears-a-Lot self, tells her that "It’s ass o’clock in the morning. Leave the bastard alone, for fuck’s sake." In other words, it's way too early to be causing this sort of ruckus.

Films — Animation

Films — Live-Action

  • The Mystery of the Leaping Fish: The main character, a detective who really, really enjoys cocaine and heroin, has a clock on his wall with the words EATS, SLEEPS, DRINKS, DOPE.


  • An almost standard joke when asked the time when not wearing a watch at all is to say "It's about a hair past."


  • Harry Potter: The Weasley family has a clock that has nine hands and doesn't tell time at all. It just shows where each of the family members currently are. ("home," "school," "work," "travelling," "lost," "hospital," "prison," and "mortal peril.") After Voldemorts return is made public, every single hand is pointing at "mortal peril" all the time. Molly also has one to tell her to do things like "Time to make tea", "Time to feed the chickens" and "You're running late".
  • Sandol Warburg: In his poem and picture book "I Like You", there's "time to stop being silly" is "a quarter past silly".

Live-Action TV

  • Corner Gas: In "Face Off", Oscar and Emma quickly make a bet that, if Oscar can't start their car so they can get to the hockey game on time, Emma will choke him with an extension cord, but if he can, she has to shut up about it. After a tense situation, Oscar gets the car to start. Emma tells him to go, so he glances at his watch and smugly says "Oh that's right, it's almost... Shut-Up-O'Clock."
  • House: In "Simple Explanation", Kutner does not turn up for work and Taub puts forward an obviously fictitious cover story for him, saying that his dog is sick and he will be there by lunch. At lunchtime, House looks at his watch and says "Look at the time. It's half past Taub-was-lying-about-Kutner."
  • That '70s Show: The employees of a cheesy amusement park (at least, this particular feature is cheesy) will answer the question "What time is it?" by announcing that "It's always fun o'clock." And breaking into song.



  • Lizzo: The opening lyrics of the song "About Damn Time": "It's Bitch-O'Clock, yeah, it's Thicc-Thirty..."
  • newteenforce: In the song "Party on Fountain":
    What time's it at?
    It's at Party O'Clock

Video Games

  • Borderlands 2: Face McShooty's Character Catchphrases are "At the sound of the explosion, it will not be torgue o'clock [makes explosion sounds]" and "At the sound of the bell, it will be faceshooting o'clock! Bonggg!!!".
  • Chants of Sennaar: The clock in front of the Alchemist dining room, on top of their symbols for the numbers, has forks in places of 4, 8 and 12, to denote chow time.
  • Fallen London: The Ratwork Watch.
    The -ping- of the cash register almost drowns out a single tiny chime from the watch. The 'Purchase Interval' hand has just reached the end of its arc.
  • Fez: Dot jokes that it's Cube O'Clock when you find a large four-handed clock.
  • The Impossible Quiz: Question 18 features a clock with some of the numbers replaced with pictures of a bucket, a banana, a house, and a hammer.
  • Kingdom of Loathing: One of the hit messages when being bitten by a "toothy pirate" combines this with a pun: "What time is it? Tooth hurty."
  • Overwatch: A running joke in the fandom is replacing the 12 o'clock position (or every position) with the words "High Noon" when in reference to McCree and his ultimate ability, during which he (rather loudly) announces that it's "High Noon". A similar joke eventually made it into the game, when one of McCree's voice lines to announce his ultimate is: "Oh, you know what time it is".
  • Rock Band: The description of one of the watches you can put on your character claims it to be "rock o'clock".
  • Super Mario RPG: Countdown is a giant clock Boss that attacks in a fixed order based on what "time" it is. For instance, at 7:00, it will use Water Blast.



  • 4chan: There are two bad taste memes that read "Good heavens, just look at the time!" in their captions. In one, all the dial numbers have been replaced by the word "rape". Likewise in the other, but with the word "troll".
  • Unshaved Mouse: As a comedic Review Blog, it tends to lampshade it when a character is about to pull a Let's Get Dangerous! by declaring that it's "Not Fucking Around O'Clock", complete with a picture of a clock displaying the time.

Web Videos

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Military personnel often gripe about exercises scheduled for "oh-dark-thirty."
  • The term "beer thirty."
  • Aircraft flies:
    • An ATC Tower relaying local time to an inbound aircraft, "...If you're a civilian, it's 3:00; if you're Air Force, it's 1500; if you're Navy, it's Six-Bells, if you're Army, the big hand is on '3' and the little hand is on '12'; if you're Marine, it's 2 hours until the bar opens!
    • Variant from The '80s: If you're American Airlines, it's 3:15 pm, if you're Pan Am, it's 1515 hours, and if you're Delta, it's Tuesday.