So I took it to the store where I bought it and it took the nice folks at customer service a good half hour to fully understand that the problem was the unconditionally forward direction of time. By then they were so exasperated with my complaint that they just refunded the clock and so I went into the store and bought something else that would replace my broken clock.
It ended up being novelty ice cube tracks, which are like a clock except every time you look at them they're pretty much the same. That's what I wanted.
I compared ice cubes. "Cubes" is of course not accurate, and I'm sorry about that -- I strive to be accurate here. They were not cubes. Stars, triangles, pyramids, Tasmanian Devils, strings of spaghetti, wiggly happy-faces and adorable penguin mascots.
And so I made ice in them all, in one massive batch. And I compared flavors. It takes some pondering and analysis to compare taste. The sense of flavor is not one that surrenders easily to rational consideration. The different shapes, all at the same temperature and from the same batch of water, had different flavors in ways I could recognize but not adequately explain, and I'm sorry for that as well.
I don't know. Perhaps the tasmanian devil conserved cold better than the spaghetti, by virtue of different surface area to volume ratios, and so tasted more like ice than cold. Perhaps the different bright colors of plastic leached different flavors. But to me, it seemed like that only different was the way I saw the shapes, and that somehow synesthetically affected the flavor.
Which seems to me to be a problem with this dag-blasted stack of novelty ice trays, so I'm going to go back there and exchange them.