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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

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4
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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

leaving

copper, iron, mining, treatment

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

ORE or OXIDE

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.

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  • $\begingroup$ third group word 1/1, members 2/4, and the 4th grp isn't a metal $\endgroup$ 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
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    $\begingroup$ 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! $\endgroup$ Jul 7 '19 at 15:45
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Group 1

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

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  • $\begingroup$ correct grouping word, but not these four items! keep it up! $\endgroup$ 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! $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '19 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ hmmm... im gonna give a hint... what sort of hint do you want? $\endgroup$ 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
3
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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)

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  • $\begingroup$ group 2 all correct, well done! $\endgroup$ Jul 6 '19 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ new guess name 0/1, words 3/4 $\endgroup$ 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 $\endgroup$ 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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