Even though I like the syntax, maybe an advanced search UI (well, it would be a simple page) that only assists users in entering 'advanced super ninja search options' would make sense?
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I put together the Stack Exchange Advance Search Options Page, a form that submits to the SO search script, just to try and give it a user interface. Give it a try, and please let me know what you think. Any feedback at all would help me improve it.
This has come up once for me.
Quite the vicious cycle, but I don't think the search gets in the way of most people. Disclaimer, I have never, ever dissed the search. Just the results and they have improved quite a bit over the last year.