This one is honestly a bit of a mystery for me. The strange behavior is caused by the lambda symbol: the line goes to normal height if I remove the lambda.
How can I get Emacs to display such symbols correctly?
(oops, typo in the image)
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The culprit was...my font choice of
Inconsolata...which makes me sad because I really liked it.
(Also, recursively bisecting the .emacs file is a great method for quickly isolating problems - thanks for the suggestion.)
My findings re: fonts which properly showed symbols:
(Microsoft wins this round, I suppose)