"Nichtsdestotrotz" is one of the most complicated words that I had to deal with during my first stays in Germany not so long ago. Someone I had to report to was making very frequent use of it (even in official communication) and I never could understand how or when to use it properly. Everyone told me it was a synonym for trotzdem, and everyone told me they had never made use of this word, but that its usage seemed quite okay. My dictionary told me it was "umgangsprachlich", so I didn't bother.
I recently found out a small answer on Wikipedia that didn't exist when I first figured out how to write this word. It explains the word is originally a kind of student pun between the two synonyms "nichtsdestoweniger" (~nonetheless) and "trotzdem" (~regardless) but that nowadays it is considered okay to use it in a formal way.
On the web (leo forums, duden online) I also found out the word could have been an invention of Kurt Tucholsky, who was a satirist.
So this is my question: Is this word really usable in (formal) conversations, or is it still understood as a grammatical absurdity used only in oral conversations to point out a useless accumulation of words, as a kind of pun or simply to point out the fact that one doesn't want to bother choosing between "trotzdem" and "nichtsdestoweniger" (this kind of things happen frequently in my native language) ?