Who put the “X” in Malcolm X?

Answers for Globle, Chronogram, and Metazooa from Feb 19 - Feb 25

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Coming to your inbox every Monday with educational fun-facts and all the answers to Trainwreck Labs games from the past week.

This week, we have…

  • A fun fact inspired by a recent Chronogram answer

  • Answers to last week's games

Who put the “X” in Malcolm X?

Before deciding on “X”, Malcolm went through the entire alphabet to make sure he was making the right choice. Image generated by DALL-E.

Of all the civil rights leaders of the 20th century, one of the most influential and controversial was Malcolm X (Chronogram guest #326). If you’ve never met anyone with the family name X before, don’t be surprised; he wasn’t given it by his family, but rather he gave it to himself.

Originally Malcolm Little, the activist and Muslim minister changed his last name because, like many African Americans, it was given to his family generations prior by slave owners. X was a prominent member of the Nation of Islam, many of whom doffed their Slave Names in favour of Islamic names or placeholders like X. When he left the Nation, he changed his name one more time to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, which he was called until his assassination in 1965.

However, it was far more common in the 20th century for celebrities to change their names to sound less religious or ethnic. For example, rock legends Gene Kelley and Freddy Mercury were born Chaim Witz and Farrokh Bulsara respectively. Decades after X’s assassination, the legacy of changing one’s name as a statement was carried on by Prince, albeit it was a very different kind of protest. Prince changed his name into a symbol in 1993 during a dispute with the Warner Bros. record label. The symbol was a combination of the traditional symbols for male (♂) and female (♀) to represent his androgynous style, and he expected people to call him the artist formerly known as Prince. He changed his name back 7 years later when his contract expired.

Since he changed his name again before he died, Malcolm didn’t pass the surname X on to his kids. However, his most famous Nation of Islam protege considered adopting the name X as well. Thus Cassius Clay almost became Cassius X, but ultimately, he was appointed the name he is best known by today: Muhammad Ali.

Answers to last week's games

Monday, February 19 to Sunday, February 25.


  • Feb 19 Sri Lanka

  • Feb 20 Belize

  • Feb 21 Gambia

  • Feb 22 Palau

  • Feb 23 Djibouti

  • Feb 24 Czechia

  • Feb 25 Samoa

  • Feb 26 Play now!

Globle: Capitals

  • Feb 19 Bucharest

  • Feb 20 Kuala Lumpur

  • Feb 21 Lisbon

  • Feb 22 Monrovia

  • Feb 23 Athens

  • Feb 24 Pristina

  • Feb 25 Abu Dhabi

  • Feb 26 Play now!


  • #324 Arthur Schopenhauer

  • #325 Henry David Thoreau

  • #326 Malcolm X

  • #327 Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • #328 Cicero

  • #329 Ernest Hemingway

  • #330 Robert E. Lee

  • #331 Play now!


  • #92 Charles Kinbote

  • #93 Lester Burnham

  • #94 Santiago

  • #95 Keyser Söze

  • #96 Aslan

  • #97 Elsa

  • #98 Nick Adams

  • #99 Play now!


  • #203 Sea turtle

  • #204 Zebra

  • #205 Seagull

  • #206 Rhinoceros

  • #207 Snowy owl

  • #208 Canary

  • #209 Monarch butterfly

  • #210 Play now!


  • #142 Leek

  • #143 Horseradish

  • #144 Pear

  • #145 Rhubarb

  • #146 Artichoke

  • #147 Lychee

  • #148 Sweet pepper

  • #149 Play now!


"Girl with Cherries" by Marco d'Oggiono

Forgery of week, from Feb 25
80.8% accurate

Predis, Giovanni Ambrogio de, and Marco d'Oggiono. Girl with Cherries. 1491, oil paint on panel, 49 cm x 38 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. 437332.

Play Forgeous for Feb 26.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!

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