“WTF” is not allowed in the game of Scrabble, because it’s an initialism. This will probably remain the case forever, and rightly so because it’s a game of words. It’s an initialism because it doesn’t create a word, unlike an acronym, such as NATO. No dilemma in Scrabble though, because NATO is a name. Names, brands and other proper nouns are not allowed in Scrabble. Why not?
1) Because there are a gazillion of them and so they’re unverifiable in a standard dictionary
2) Because almost anything can become a name. See the game VVVVVV for an example. Not that you have enough V’s in Scrabble for that, but you get my point.
However, today Scrabble has announced that in future versions of the games, the rule sheet will allow proper nouns, names and brands. Their excuse is that it will “add a new dimension, blah blah popular culture blah” which is marketing-speak for “help, no-one is buying our game any more”. Well fine, it’s your game, you can do what you want. Change the rules all you like, it’s not your problem that the younger generation have vocabularies limited to ‘McD’ and ‘P Diddy’ – cause that’s the message I’m getting here. Hey kids, sorry you don’t know any words, just use the brands you’re exposed to every day, that’ll present less of a challenge! I find it insulting to kids and a prime example of ‘dumbing down’, a phrase I generally avoid along with ‘political correctness gone mad’ but in this case apt.
In my house, as a kid, Scrabble was a huge challenge, and increasing my vocabulary was not just a motivation for beating my opponents, but a direct result of playing against those who knew more words than I. I tried cheating by grabbing the dictionary to pretend I was checking a word, when in reality I was searching for words which fit the tiles I had. I can clearly remember my parents looking askance at the six-year-old me and asking if I actually knew what ORGASM meant.
The solution is quite simple: just stick to the old rules, and if your opponent tries to put down ‘KFC’, make them eat their own tiles.
ETA: I have refined the original to reflect the entirety of the new rules and correct my mistype of ‘proper noun’ for ‘pronoun’, ironically.
ETA2: There’s always the chance this is a cynical marketing ploy by Scrabble and they will pretend to bow under public pressure, basking in the glory of all the free press coverage and blog outrage. If that’s the case, GTFO, Scrabble.
ETA3: Looks like ETA2 is half right. Scrabble is indeed playing the ‘let’s put out a tiny bit of info to the press and get loads of free publicity from the resulting hoo-hah, reminding everyone how much they love original Scrabble!’ game. The REAL story here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/browbeat/archive/2010/04/06/don-t-panic-proper-nouns-will-not-be-allowed-in-scrabble.aspx