According to a short article (1998-08-02) in a local newspaper here in Gothenburg the title refers to a meeting Bono should have had with a friend but missed. The friend put up a note saying 11 O'Clock Tick Tock.
Jonas Steverud (Maintainer of U2MoL) ( 1:st of September 1997)
The lyrics of this song all seem to point to the end of a party / disco (maybe even school disco). Being one of the earliest U2 tracks I believe that Bono was inspired whilst being at a disco. 11 O'Clock would have maybe been the end of the disco.
"It's cold outside, it gets so hot in here" suggests a Christmas disco and seeing "boys and girls collide" points to dancing. "hearing the children crying" may not have actually been crying tears, but simply moans at having to finish their good time.
"A painted face" suggests a girl with too much make up on, and "I know we haven't long" is Bono knowing the end of the disco is coming soon. Also "Sad song" maybe the 'slow dance' at the end, and "Call out your name" is Bono asking the girl to tell him who she is then he can pursue the romance.
It really is a simple song, but paints a wonderful picture of teenage angst.
Nick Bibby nickbibbyyahoo.co.uk (15th of September 2009)