The tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and the musician Grimes have changed the unusual and largely unpronounceable name of their firstborn child. But anyone hoping that X Æ A-12 might be replaced by something a little more conventional is going to be disappointed.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Grimes confirmed that the baby formerly known as X Æ A-12 would now be known as X Æ A-Xii.
Grimes gave no explanation for the change to using roman numerals, but later responded to a post asking if the alteration was made to comply with a California law that holds only the 26 letters of the alphabet can be used for child names.
“Roman numerals. Looks better tbh,” she wrote.
The couple appeared to have been at odds over how to interpret X Æ A-12 from the outset. The musician, whose real name is Claire Elise Boucher, previously explained that Æ was her “elven spelling” of AI (for artificial intelligence) and “X” stood for “the unknown variable”.
“It’s just X, like the letter X. Then AI. Like how you said the letter A then I,” wrote Grimes on Thursday in response to a query on Instagram.
But Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, told the podcast host Joe Rogan a different story: “I mean it’s just X, the letter X. And then the Æ is, like, pronounced ‘Ash’… and then A-12. A-12 is my contribution.”
Musk already had five children – Griffin and Xavier and triplets Damian, Saxon and Kai – as well as a son, Nevada, who died as an infant. He credited his partner for the creative leap.
“First of all, my partner is the one that, actually, mostly, came up with the name,” he said. “Yeah, she’s great at names.”