Earlier this month I wrote about the incorporation of the Oxford Thesaurus into The Online Oxford Dictionary. Exciting news indeed, but I omitted to mention that one year's subscription to the combined work costs GBP205 or US$295.
But it needn't cost you anything at all. If you are a true-born, full-blooded Englishman there is no problem; if you are not true-born, or full-blooded, or English, or a man (or not even a UK resident), then you will have to go to a little trouble, but of course it will be well worth it. This is what you must do:
1. Choose a town in the UK where you could bear to live. Tastes vary so much that I cannot advise on this, but there are plenty of publications which will guide you, either negatively or positively, such as Crap Towns of Southeast England, Essex for Gourmets, We Ban Members of the Bullingdon Club, No LibDems Here, The Top 100 Scottish Towns for Posh Totty, Havens in Dorset for Hedge Fund Managers, Muggers' Cumbria, Slough: The Stamp Collector's Paradise and many others.
2. Log on to the website of the town you have chosen, find the telephone number of its public library and phone to find out whether it is covered by the agreement with the Oxford University Press permitting them to enable their subscribers to access OUP online publications (most UK library authorities are) from their home computers without charge.
3. If the answer is yes, move yourself (and your family if you like) to that town and join its library. You will be given a PIN.
4. Enjoy the OED and the Thesaurus for the rest of your life or until the British government closes down all the public libraries and sells the OED to Houghton Mifflin.