Last week some clever but fake subway service advisory signs inspired by the Lord of the Rings popped up in select subway stations. Created by the folks behind this website, the signs warn riders that there will be reduced Ent service while the Middle Earth Transit Authority works to repair damage from the war of the One ring. The ents, as you'll recall, were the giant tree creatures and shepherds of the forest in J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy. The "Plant & Protect" sign reads:

Much of Ent Fangorn forest was destroyed by the wizard Saruman during the war of the One ring.

The cutting and burning by Saruman's orcs have destroyed thousands of saplings, devastating root systems and destroyed Ent communication with the most of the forest. While temporary repairs were made after the war, all of these vital systems need permanent repairs.

Plant & Protect work will restore and rebuild components of Fangorn forest to reliable service, and, where feasible, add resilient features to make the Ent forest less vulnerable to future severe events. Work commences with this 12-weekend effort in 2013 with a second phase of work to follow in 2014.

Well, we thought it was amusing, but NYC Transit spokesman Adam Lisberg has had it with these sorts of shenanigans.

"This sign, like others we’ve seen, clearly has the potential to confuse our customers and has no place in the subway system," Lisberg tells us. "I don’t care if it’s cute or funny to devotees of any particular genre—we serve more than 5 million customers a day on the subways, and plenty of them have very limited English skills. We work hard to make a complex system simpler to navigate, and these posters make it harder. If one person misses a train because they’re trying to decipher a joke, it’s one too many. Enough already."

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[Via Brokelyn]