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Grimes 2020
GrimesPhotogrpahy Eli Russell Linnetz

Grimes explains the meaning of the ‘X Æ A-12’ baby name

‘X, the unknown variable... Æ, my elven spelling of AI...’

Yesterday, Grimes and Elon Musk announced that their baby had been born. On social media, people asked what the baby’s name was, to which Musk responded ‘X Æ A-12’. Now, Grimes has explained the meaning behind the name.

On Twitter, the Canadian musician listed the significance behind each character. “X, the unknown variable,” she wrote, illustrated by a crossed sword emoji. “Æ, my elven spelling of AI (love and/or Artificial intelligence). A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favourite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent. (A = Archangel, my favourite song).” At the end, she added the cryptic words: “metal rat”.

Musk corrected her in a reply – the aircraft is an SR-71, not SR-17.

Of course, it’s still not clear how you pronounce X Æ A-12, or if they’re even serious that this is the name. People have joked on social media about Grimes giving her baby a bizarre baby name ever since she announced her pregnancy, and it’s possible, even likely, that ‘X Æ A-12’ is just Grimes and Musk getting in on the bit.

Another interpretation is that this is a cypher. “Æ” aligns with Grimes’s own naming conventions with Miss Anthropocenee’s “4 ÆM”, which stands for “For Elon Musk”. The A-12 jet was named ‘Archangel’. And the “metal rat” comment chimes with the Chinese zodiac – this is the Year of the Rat, and 2020’s element is metal. The Guardian suggests that the child might be called Xai Archangel Musk.

At the same time... maybe they have just gone with X Æ A-12, and it’s as simple as that. 2020, baby. Who even cares anymore.