It is too bad to hear you are having problems with the Audio in your NUC.
Please note that these devices have been tested with Windows versions since are the officials and supported Operating Systems.
I would appreciate if any other user with Linux Experience can provide feedback on this matter.
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I discovered the TV was set to think it had a surround-sound system attached. I corrected the setting, and it then worked just fine. I thought that was odd, I was sure I set it up right when I first got it. And the TV sound works OK with other HDMI devices.
Then after some time, the TV changed its settings again. So something was still not quite right. I wonder if maybe there is some issue with communications over HDMI. Certainly Ubuntu knows what its HDMI port is connected to, including its audio capabilities, so maybe there is some form of two-way information flow.
So I played around with the Ubuntu sound-over-HDMI settings, with no full understanding what they all did; and so far it is working. I've fiddled with too many settings to be sure what is going on, but my feeling is that now it is working I won't try to fix it any more.
My thanks to kevin_intel for at least reading the question and responding, even though Ubuntu is not officially supported. I only posted in the hope that some Linux expert on the forum might be able to help.
And in case anyone is wondering, other than this problem (which can be fixed), this NUC makes an excellent MythTV front-end.