Disclaimer: "Hard" here is not a difficulty indicator. Please do not edit the title.

This is a Word Web. Divide the 16 words into four groups of four such that they can collocate with one same word. Then find the answer that collocates with the four derived word. (-ed) means the derived word has an -ed suffix in those cases. Have fun!

(-ed) Coffee     Copper       Dietary        Health
   Hormone        Ion          Iron          Mental
   Mining     Nutritional     Sports        Staffing
    Test       Treatment      Vitamin     (-ed) Water

Hint 1

Dietary is not in the same group as Treatment

Hint 2

Test is not in the same group as Iron

This puzzle is a part of Ooohh, it all makes sense now! :D


The first two groups have already been found by others:

DEFICIENCY : Hormone, Staffing, Mental, Nutritional
SUPPLEMENT: Dietary, Health, Sports, Vitamin

I guessed

CARBONATE: copper, iron, ion, _ed water

which is apparently the right connecting word but only 2/4 of the right items. JS1 has proposed a different division of the remaining words into two fours, which if I understand OP's comments correctly is right. So, apparently, we have

CARBONATE: _ed water, _ed coffee, test, ion


copper, iron, mining, treatment

for which I don't currently have a really convincing guess at the connecting word, but here are two suggestions


neither of which I'm in love with; as for the final answer, since my first conjecture for it was wrong I shall instead propose

CALCIUM (which, it occurs to me, makes some sense of the title, since calcium carbonate is what makes "hard" water hard).

Credit where due: OP gave some feedback on the first and third versions of this answer; JonMark Perry pointed out that the second version was inconsistent with one of OP's hints; JS1 found what I think OP has said is the correct division of the last 8 words.

  • $\begingroup$ third group word 1/1, members 2/4, and the 4th grp isn't a metal $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 7 '19 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ Clarification: I wasn't saying the fourth group is a metal, I was saying I expect the final answer to be one. (My guess at the word for the fourth group was not in any sense a metal.) Anyway, thanks for the feedback; will update accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 7 '19 at 11:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ the second hint says iron and test aren't in the same group. $\endgroup$ – JMP Jul 7 '19 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ Ooh, so it does. I'll try again. (The difficulty here is that there seem to be lots of ways to divide these words into four groups of four that connect about equally well. Perhaps the right answer is to figure out the meta and backsolve.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Jul 7 '19 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ c word is right, but not salt and the answer. keep it up! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 7 '19 at 15:45

Group 1

DEFICIENCY : Hormone, Staffing, Mental, Nutritional
SUPPLEMENT: Dietary, Health, Sports, Vitamin
CARBONATE: Coffee, Ion, Test, Water
?????????: Copper, Iron, Mining, Treatment

  • $\begingroup$ correct grouping word, but not these four items! keep it up! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jun 29 '19 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ is it coffee? :) or staffing? $\endgroup$ – JMP Jun 29 '19 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ wrong second grp, nailed first. well done! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jun 29 '19 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ hmmm... im gonna give a hint... what sort of hint do you want? $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 1 '19 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ I've tried Fibre, Supplement, Centre, Chill(ed), Blood, World and Complex, but nothing. And knowing that the answer is a chemical isn't helping either! An anti-pair (A is NOT related to B) maybe? $\endgroup$ – JMP Jul 1 '19 at 3:28

What I have so far:

DEFICIENCY: Hormone, Mental, Nutritional, Staffing (@JonMark Perry)
SUPPLEMENT: Dietary, Health, Sports, Vitamin (confirmed)
CARBONATE: (-ed) Coffee, Ion, Test, (-ed) Water (@Gareth McCaughan, to be confirmed)
???: Copper, Iron, Mining, Treatment

Old guesses with feedback:

DRIVE: Health, Ion, Sports, Test (all wrong)
ICE: Coffee, Mining, Treatment, Water (all wrong)
MINERAL: Copper, Ion, Iron, Mining (wrong group name, 3/4 words)
METAL: Copper, Iron, Mining, Treatment (wrong group name, 4/4 words)
SOURCE: Coffee, Ion, Test, Water (wrong group name, 4/4 words)
SURFACE: Copper, Iron, Mining, Treatment (wrong group name)
WASTE: Copper, Iron, Mining, Treatment (wrong group name)

  • $\begingroup$ group 2 all correct, well done! $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 6 '19 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ new guess name 0/1, words 3/4 $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 6 '19 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton I have new guesses for groups 3 and 4. $\endgroup$ – JS1 Jul 7 '19 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ two groups word 0/2, members 8/8 $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 7 '19 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton I added a guess based on Gareth's group plus two of my own for the 4th group. I figured I would submit multiple guesses to waste less of your time. $\endgroup$ – JS1 Jul 7 '19 at 7:08

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