I've seen the same popular news articles everyone else has about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have always had some questions about it though that I haven't seen addressed, and I'm still beating my head against introductory QFT, so I'm not to the level where I'd pick up the answers from understanding QFT. 1. Prior to actually building the LHC and finding the interaction signature, what made the Higgs field any more elegant than just adding the field rest-masses manually? Are there any fewer degrees of freedom in the theory with a Higgs field and a bunch of (arbitrary?) interaction strengths than there are in a theory with just the rest masses added in manually? 2. What gave physicists any idea of what the rest field-value of the Higgs field should be? It seems to me that there should be freedom to dial down the resting value of the higgs field and dial up the interaction strengths (or vice versa) arbitrarily. 3. Is giving the Higgs field a rest mass just moving the ball for what gives particles rest mass? Can the existence of rest mass be explained without being inserted "by hand" in at least one field?