I want to ask a question about an issue I'm seeing in my current D&D 5e campaign but I'm not sure if it'll get closed or not so I figured I could try workshopping it here first.
My players have missed a reoccurring "theme" in our campaign. I've dropped maybe 6-7 (relatively subtle) hints about it existing but they haven't picked up on it. Knowing the hint will make some future events clearer, but it isn't a be-all-end-all scenario and they can make it through without realizing the hint, it'll just be harder.
As an example, imagine that there's an ongoing motif of there being four things. Four-sided-icons, four pillars in the temple, the god has four names, etc. The quest is to find the god's missing magical macguffins. If they know four is a theme here, they know they're looking for four items. Otherwise, it's going to be rather nebulous from their side and make long-term planning difficult.
I think my question is "If my players have missed all my hints for a non-critical story element, should I spoon feed it to them?" but that's pretty opinion-based. Basically I'm trying to figure out if I should cave and tell them the hint out-of-character to make sure they get it, or if I should just let them proceed without it.
I know there should be the typical "looking for DM and players' opinions based on experience" disclaimer, but is that enough to keep the question open?