The tech billionaire Elon Musk and the musician Grimes have had their first baby together, and the world is a bit confused by his name.
When a follower asked Musk on Monday night what they’d named their new son, Musk replied, “X Æ A-12 Musk.”
Thought it was a joke
Many speculated that the name was a joke. Musk is a known Twitter prankster, frequently posting jokes and memes for his 33.6 million followers. He’s also gotten into hot water for his reckless tweeting about things like taking Tesla private or calling a British cave diver who helped rescue a trapped Thai soccer team a “pedo guy.”
Others speculated that the string of characters Musk tweeted was a riddle or an equation that added up to the actual name. One person guessed that the name was actually “X Ash Archangel,” which Musk liked on Twitter.
On Tuesday night, Grimes posted a breakdown of what each character means.
X stands for the “unknown variable,” Æ stands for Grimes’ “elven spelling of Ai,” and A-12 stands for a type of CIA aircraft known internally as Archangel.
“Metal rat” at the bottom of Grimes’ tweet is a reference to the baby’s sign. The Chinese zodiac includes both animal signs and five elements (earth, wood, water, fire, and metal), and 2020 is the year of the metal rat.
But Grimes’ clarification only complicated the situation further. The character Æ is known as an ash, and the actual sound the symbol refers to is like the A in “cat” or “bad,” according to Dictionary.com, and not like “ai.”
Seems to be against the law
Plus, California laws about naming a baby stipulate that the name can include only the 26 letters of the English alphabet. According to the state’s birth-registration handbook, baby names can’t include “ideograms,” or symbols that represent a thing or an idea, and can include only “appropriate punctuation,” like the hyphen in the name Smith-Jones. Names cannot include numeric characters.
Musk and Grimes live in California, meaning “X Æ A-12” likely isn’t what’s listed on the baby’s birth certificate.
On Wednesday night, Grimes posted photos from her Italian Vogue cover shoot on Instagram – and in the comments she responded to someone asking how the name was pronounced.
“It’s just X, like the letter X,” Grimes wrote. “Then A.I. Like how you said the letter A then I.”
Grimes’ real name is Claire Boucher, but in May 2018 she said she intended to legally change it to c, in lowercase italic font, as in the symbol that represents the speed of light.
X Ash Archangel
On Thursday, Musk appeared on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast and shared for the first time how he pronounces the name, which is the same as the guess he liked on Twitter: X Ash Archangel.
“It’s just X, the letter X. And then the Æ is, like, pronounced ‘ash,’” Musk told Rogan. “And then A-12 is my contribution … Archangel-12, the precursor to the SR-71, coolest plane ever.”
Musk said Grimes was the one who came up with the name. “She’s great at names,” Musk said.