Canadian singer Grimes says she and Elon Musk really did name their new baby X Æ A-12 — and while it looks like a suggested Google password at first glance, it’s actually a meaningful code for the eccentric couple.
Musk initially shared the name on Twitter after the child was born late Monday, triggering a flurry of mockery and internet memes about the bizarre choice. Many of the SpaceX and Tesla founder’s fans also tried to decode the name as though it were a riddle pointing to the child’s real moniker.
But no. His name is really X Æ A-12 Musk, according to Grimes.
That means the child will spend the rest of his (probably wealthy) life struggling to fill out official forms or find keychains with his name on them because his parents named him like a droid from Star Wars.
Grimes, whose real name is Claire Boucher, tweeted out the significance of her newborn’s name on Tuesday night.
The X is a math reference to the “unknown variable” in every formula, Grimes wrote on Twitter.
The Æ is Grimes’ “elven spelling of AI,” she wrote. Grimes says it’s a reference to the couple’s love and/or artificial intelligence.
A-12 is a reference to the couple’s “favourite aircraft,” Grimes said. That’s the Lockheed A-12 Archangel, a spy plane used by the U.S. government in the 1960s. “No weapons, no defences, just speed,” she wrote. “Great in battle but non-violent.”
She added that the A also doubles as a reference to “Archangel, my favourite song.”
Finally, she added “metal rat” to the tweet, in an apparent reference to 2020 as the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac.
Musk’s fans had their own theory about the name’s meaning on Tuesday, which was proven only partially right by Grimes’ tweet. They figured out the A-12 Archangel reference and had interpreted the Æ to mean ash, the name for that character in linguistics.
They theorized that the real name was X Ash Archangel — a theory that Musk seemingly encouraged by liking a tweet about it on Tuesday.
Musk tweeted a photo of the A-12 in response to Grimes’ explanation.
Grimes also defended the unusual name choice in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“You realize this is a human child and not an EP, right?” one person tweeted at her. The tweet seemingly referred to one of Grimes’ songs from last year, titled 4ÆM.
“I think it sounds like the name of the main character in the story,” Grimes replied. “I hope he vibes with that.”
She added that she is still recovering from surgery “and barely alive,” but her tweets about the child are “meant to be profound.”
Grimes did not explain how to say the child’s name. However, Twitter users have their own theories about that — and their pronunciations sound a lot like a dial-up modem, the Windows startup sound or digitized screaming.
Grimes was relatively quiet on Twitter in the lead-up to giving birth on Monday, while Musk appeared to be in full meltdown mode. The billionaire inventor spent much of last week railing against coronavirus lockdowns in the U.S.
Musk also went on a wide-ranging and costly rant late last week. He knocked about $14 billion off Tesla’s market value by tweeting that the stock price was “too high” and vowing to sell most of his physical possessions.
“Will own no house,” he wrote.
Musk appears to have listed two of his Los Angeles mansions for sale since that Twitter rant.
Musk is an active presence on Twitter, where he often engages with his followers and indulges in internet culture. He has also described himself as a “meme lord” at various times.
His child appears to have inherited that unofficial title, as Twitter users continue to joke about the baby being part robot or some sort of otherworldly being.
Musk has five sons with his former wife, Justine Wilson. Their names are Damian, Griffin, Xavier, Saxon and Kai.
This is his first child with Grimes, whom he’s been dating for two years. It’s unclear where they’ll live with their little bundle of characters joy, especially if Musk is selling his houses.
He tweeted an update about the boy on Tuesday night, saying that he is “happy, healthy and cute as a button.”