Okay, now that I'm done, I'm pretty sure this won't score over 5. It had some unsatisfactory clues and a slightly damp endplay.
But it is something different and effort has been made.
1) DOORMATS : do(or,--ma--)ts : lines=fills and the ellipsis was not there for no reason.
5) SWAMPS : swam,p------s : pirogues was incongruous, and 'outside floods' . . . how is that even possible ?
9) WEEDS OUT : wee,(-ustod-)*
*10) ANIMAL : lamina< : like 'cryptic clues' last week, another device that is past its use-by date.
*12) LADY : la(d)y
13) IRRELEVANT : -i-r-r-e-,Levant
*15) ASIAN : as Ian
16) MUESLI : hm(muse,lea)
19) LEAN-TO : Sp(teen,loo)
20) SWEDE : (weeds)*
23) HARD-BOILED : ddef : 'soldiers' being strips of toast one dips into soft-boiled eggs. The clue's surface is hard-boiled. Meh.
24,3dn) ELON MUSK : e(-----l)on,musk : editing error as it's 3dn not 3ac. Tsk.
26) INSULT : is this meant to be a homophone of 'inn salt' ? Gee, I hope not. Visiting ? Surface reading ? What a God-awful clue. Someone correct me.
27) SUBGENRE : (grub,seen)*
28) ESSAYS : -es-(say)S : Charles Lamb, the essayist.
29) ALLEY CAT : all,e---y,cat
1) DOWNLOAD : down,hm(lowed) : stock=cattle
2) OVERDO IT : o(Verd(-------o)i)T : obviously another editing error. Not (6,2,2). Too sloppy.
3) see 24ac
4) TRUE ROMANTIC : (to,recruit)*<>man : the answer is a bit confected. The only True Romantic in Wikipedia is a Kate Ceberano album. Annoying.
6) WANDERLUST : wan,d(-e-r-l-)ust
7) MUMBAI : mum,bai- : bail=leave
8) SALUTE : (---sulate)*
11) HETEROSEXUAL : (to,a,rule,she)*<>-ex- : Yuk.
14) UNDERBELLY : ddef
*17) HELLENIC : hell,cine<
18) REINVENT : rein,vent
*21) CHOICE : --cho,ice : Nacho minus Na.
*22) GRASPS : g----r,asps
25) OGLE : ----el-go---<
Rearrange the six starred answers into 'Asian animal grasps choice Hellenic lady'. That would be PANDA grasping OR. (Is 'or' really synonymous with 'choice' ? Is an 'or' a noun ? 'Or' denotes a choice. Uggh.) So PANDORA, hidden. If you look at the unche(cked letter)s, the vertical unches starting between Mumbai and Salute reveal the answer.
Lots of gripes of various issues throughout. It wasn't particularly hard but it was pretty messy.
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