Well, I ripped out pre7 and compiled pre9 sticking on configure options at random in the hopes that more stuff would work than break and copied a new piece of theme config (that seems to have been added in pre8 that was in one file and no others) to several files and the font shows up now. What I don't get is that several applications pick up all the fonts I added but ice seems to need special handholding. Some xft issues is what it seems to amount to.
Now something's gone squirelly with my cursors in certain apps - it's possible that they're all GTK apps but I haven't really been paying attention. I think I had this problem way back sometime and fixed it one way or another, so I'll probably figure that out again eventually. I really hate *hands* for cursors and my 'normal' cursor looks like the Asteroids spaceship.