Ellen Seebacher writes to note this piece of extremely ostentatious taboo avoidance in the NYT Style section on the 2nd, in Guy Trebay’s piece “Dear Winter Coat: Goodbye and Good Riddance”:
At issue … is the question of when that hopeful day [the first day of spring weather] will arrive. It snowed on the first day of spring on the East Coast and remained so cold for the week thereafter that Olive & Bette’s boutique on Madison Avenue posted a placard outside with a popular and unprintable three-letter Internet acronym. “After Tuesday even the calendar goes,” what the heck, or initials to that effect.
Ellen was astonished that the paper treats WTF as an unprintable obscenity: the initialism inherits the taboo status of the word the F stands for. It turns out the Language Log has been down this road.
Back in 2009, Mark Liberman looked at WTF in the posting “Annals of Bowdlerization: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”, noting that it
is apparently on the NYT no-no list, since the archives since 1981 yield only one hit
(The paper also avoids STFU and LMFAO.)